Food Editor, Saskia Gregson-Williams chats to the Owners and Founders of one of London’s best and most loved healthy eateries, the Wild Food Cafe…
The Wild Food Cafe, located in Neil’s Yard, Covent Garden is described as “a leading edge raw-centric eatery, created around the art of feeling great”. This message of feeling great and enjoying healthy, raw and vegan creations makes the Wild Food Cafe in a league of their own; providing not just a wonderful meal but a wonderful experience. We speak to Joel & Aiste Gazdar the owners and brains behind the eatery to talk about their upcoming Wild Wellbeing and Raw Food Course, their personal food journeys, the benefits of eating raw and how to get started on your own healthy food exploration.
Where did the inspiration behind Wild Food Cafe come from?
Aiste: It was quite a synchronistic happening for me. I have never planned of on opening a restaurant, however, I followed my heart, listened to my intuition and that’s what happened! I have been very much involved in wellbeing and personal development practiced since I came to London at the age of 18 and Wild Food Café became the result and an offering of all my experiences and learning so far.
Joel: The inspiration has come from all the time I’ve spent living in wild, amongst the elements, I’ve devoted myself to appreciating the genius and infinite intelligence of nature and embodying paradise as a state of being… even in the middle of the big city.
The menu at Wild food cafe is primarily raw and vegan, how did you start your raw food journey and what effect has it had on your lives?
Aiste: I have been experimenting with vegetarian, vegan, raw, ayurvedic and macrobiotic approaches since I was 18. I have always been following the thread of more energy, more wholeness, lighter emotions and more awareness of my body. I started to treat food as medicine and continue to do so. Both my parents got diagnosed with cancer on the same day three or so years ago, which fuelled a massive transformation in my life and prompted me to actively join the wellbeing movement and inspire more and more people to take charge of their wellbeing.
Joel: When I started with “Raw Foods” in London in 2000, there were barely any books available, let alone the thousands of websites, and products which are now widely available, superfoods had barely been coined a term. Raw plant foods and their vibrant intensity of flavour, nutrients and life-force caused me to really love and appreciate the food I was eating in a way I had never done before. It was a catalyst for me in loving my body and it supported me in making clearer choices. Plus, it boosted my confidence, improved my sex life and deepened my meditation practice.
What’s your favourite wild creation on the menu?
Aiste: Sometimes I eat only soups – just because I find them very nourishing and simple for me – sometimes I go for raw pizza, which I love. I am always up for raw dessert or a smoothie.
Joel: Both The Wild Burger, The Wild Pizza & The SuperSalad. I’d also have to add the InvincibilTea to my favourites, which is part of my ongoing voyage into synergizing the finest tonic herbs from around the world in a deliciously potent potion which sustains me most days.
What’s your favourite thing about being located in Neal’s Yard?
Aiste: This place is saturated in magic and wonder by the decades of wonderful, creative, innovative people putting a lot of work and intention into it. Those who are still and listen, feel the magic and that’s very exciting to me.
You also run raw food courses at the cafe, your next one starting in November, what do these involve?
Aiste: The Wild Wellbeing and Raw Food Course is our favourite event to run. We have been doing it in this form for over a year now and each course is more fascinating and fulfilling. We gather a group of people enthusiastic about their wellbeing and food, and we spend four evenings over four weeks playing with food and concepts of wellbeing. It is a lot more than just a food course, yet, food is the central focus. In my opinion, we teach essential skills for thriving in an urban environment in 21st century. Fermenting, mineralization, plant-based foods, greens, herbalism and genetically-strong ingredients.
Sharing your passion for vibrant raw “living” foods, must be very rewarding. What’s your top tip, for those that want to introduce more into their diet?
Aiste: Listen to your heart and keep experimenting. All the recipes that I make at home come from my heart and that gives me the most nourishment. Also, adding healthy habits to your day. Like swapping a coffee for a juice or smoothie makes a big difference. Finally, go to bed early and wake early! 🙂
Joel: Make it tasty, PLAY with your food! Try new things! Experiment! Make one of your daily meals a liquid like a juice, smoothie, raw soup, tonic tea or a combination. Make sure you drink between 3-6litre of pure water a day, if you really wish to deliver vitality to your trillions of cells.
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