There’s a moose on the loose
We can never have too many vegan food suppliers in the world, right? Well, we certainly can never have too many vegan food suppliers working towards building social capital in their neighbourhood, right? I knew you’d agree with me.
Moose’s Kitchen is a cafe set to open over the coming months and will focus on sustainable, organic, local and vegan food. The idea behind the eatery is to supply ethical and organic food to the community while working to educate people on healthy eating, collective organising and vegan cooking.
This initiative is set to transform the way people in Hastings and the South East approach food. The founder of Moose’s Kitchen sat down with me to explain the concept of the cafe and why she is asking you (yes, YOU!) to make a donation in order to make the idea a reality.
Read the interview below and make a donation to Moose’s Kitchen here.
Fat Gay Vegan: First things first. How did your parents come up with the name Moose?
Moose: My parents didn’t call me Moose! It happened when I was about 18 at a party – as the people there couldn’t remember my real name – which is Maresa – but I prefer Moose as no-one can pronounce my real name properly. I think it was just about the time I turned vegan which was over 20 years ago.
FGV: The idea behind Moose’s Kitchen (local produce, organic, vegan and ethical ingredients) is very admirable. Explain to readers why this take on food is so important to you.
M: There are so many reasons why this is important, but fundamentally if you care about the environment and all the animals in it, then small-scale organic agriculture is the system that causes least harm to wildlife. We also want to give money to the people who grow the food, rather than to big businesses, and because we know most of the farmers who will be growing our vegetables personally we can trust them completely. Even when we are buying products that have to be imported from overseas, like tea and coffee, we want to have as direct a trading relationship as we can to ensure that we are supporting growers in other countries. Local organic produce is also fresher, as often it has only just been harvested, so that means it tastes better and is better for you.
FGV: I spoke with you briefly about your kitchen adding social capital to your community. Can you explain in more detail what exactly your cafe will be giving to your area?
M: As we are running the cafe, we will also be doing local educational work and events to promote local food, as we have received funding from the Local Food Fund to do this. This will include cookery courses, including some free courses for community groups. We also plan to have student placements from the local catering college who will come for work experience to learn more about sustainable food and vegan cooking. We will also be organising a range of other events such as food tastings or farm visits.
FGV: For people obsessed with food (ahem, me), give us a rundown of what a typical meal from Moose’s Kitchen will look like.
M: Our food during the day will be quite simple but very tasty and will change daily depending on what is in season and available from local farmers. Dishes will include soups, dips, selection of different salads, specials like stews and pies, and lots of cakes and puddings, including gluten-free and raw treats. Our food is influenced by traditional vegan ‘peasant’ dishes from around the world, as in most countries food has always primarily been based on vegetables, grains, nuts and pulses. There is a sample menu on our website http://www.mooseskitchen.moonfruit.com. In the evenings we will offer set three course meals, often based on different themes, along the same lines as we’ve been doing at our pop up restaurant over the past two years. For example, for our Green Feast we had: roasted and blanched asparagus with split pea and basil puree; nettle soup with wild garlic pesto on ciabatta toast; green lentil and spinach lasagne with tabouleh, fennel, pear and green olive salad and green salad; mint choc chip ice cream, pistachio and cardamom brittle, courgette cake with avocado icing.
FGV: You are currently crowd funding for kitchen equipment. What will you be doing with the funds received?
M: The funding will be used to purchase essential equipment for the cafe such as cooker, dishwasher, fridge, freezer, etc. as we are now setting up a new kitchen from scratch rather than taking over an existing cafe, as originally anticipated. We are trying to get as much of our furniture off Freecycle to reduce our costs and environmental impact, but would like new cooking equipment so we know it’s only ever been used for vegan food.
FGV: Do you have a launch date set for Moose’s Kitchen?
M: Unfortunately we don’t have an actual launch date yet as we are waiting for the landlords and builders to finish work but hopefully we’ll be up and running by April.
FGV: Sales pitch time! In 100 words or less tell us why we should financially support Moose’s Kitchen.
M: There are very few 100% vegan cafes in this country, whereas in other countries like the US they are far more common place. There are even fewer cafes that focus on sustainable food. We want to change this and show that it’s possible to serve delicious, organic, vegan food without having to pay huge prices. We hope that Moose’s Kitchen will be the start of many more similar projects in the UK. Once the cafe is established we want to help others to set up similar ventures based on our principles of Local, Organic, Vegan and Ethical food.
Donate NOW to help Moose’s Kitchen make a big impact in their community!
I love the way Moose has done this, so that you can get something in return for your money – so you are basically just paying “up front” for something – from tea and cake to a full 3-course meal for two. Or recipe cards if you live far away.
Can’t wait for it to open so we can come for our meal, Moose!
That’s good news – I think there are more vegan happenings in St Leonards on Sea since the Vegan Society moved away! This all sounds delicious & is a good venue too, in Kings Road.
I’ve some friends down there & there are several places providing decent vegan grub (including the 1066 Cake Stand; Gurkha & Armenian restaurants; park cafe; & even the pie & mash shop on the sea front offers a vegan option!). There’s also a vegan B&B down there.
I look forward to trying this when it opens & wish Moose every success.
I have eaten Mooses food many times as we were flat mates many years ago. We would normally have a house full of people who would some how hear that moose was cooking. I am really pleased that Moose is finally to open her cafe. It is definitely her destiny to share her passion for food and her dedication to ethical eating and living for which her enthusiasm is truly contagious.
I have always respected Moose as someone who lives and breathes her beliefs and is also a great person to be around. I for one will definitely be booking a table at Mooses Kitchen and would encourage any one else who likes good food, good company and wants to support sustainable business to do the same.