Meet The Chef Making Magic Happen At Our Health + Wellness Food Bar
For just over a year, visitors to Apothecary 27 have tucked into delicious, nourishing lunch boxes and treats from our Health + Wellness Food Bar. Meet the woman behind the nutritious salads and pastries (yes! nutritious pastries!), Florence McVeigh.
Hello Florence! Tell us a bit about your background and the history of the café.
FMcV: I have always loved cooking, following in the steps of my mother, who was always trying new, delicious recipes. I was lucky to have travelled a bit – I worked in the Caribbean, where I discovered a whole new range of food and flavours. I want to share my love for good, healthy food and to show that it is within everyone’s reach.
I qualified as a naturopath in 2009, and I had been in the health and spa industry since 1998. My inspiration and motivation came from the treatment I received from a multi-disciplines doctor using a combination of homeopathy, Chinese medicine, NLP and more.
I have assisted people on their path to better health for whatever reason, from weight loss to cancer. Almost 100% of them had something in common: digestion issues, inappropriate nutrition, lack of time (or uninterested) to cook, and the struggle to find new ways to prepare and eat healthy, tasty food.
In 2016, I decided to develop my own range of healthy cookies, energy balls and raw brownies with fewer carbs and sugars and more fibres and proteins. I offered talks, workshop and mini retreats. The topics were mainly about digestion.
My first talk and workshop, and the first shop where I sold my products, was Apothecary 27. In early summer 2018, owner Joe Jackson told me that customers were requesting a health café, and that he would love to work with me on the project.
We launched the café in September 2018. We offer vegan and gluten-free food, and every day we feature a different menu: lunch boxes packed with plant-based, nourishing food with flavours from around the world, as well as vegetables and protein-rich quiches.
Do you spend a lot of time at home developing recipes?
FMcV: I would need nine lives for all the recipes I want to try! I am constantly searching for inspiration and adapting recipes. I want to try every recipe I see in vegan mags, on food blogs, etc.
Do you have a favourite dish from the cafe? Or a favourite ingredient?
FMcV: They are all my favourites! My fave ingredient is tahini – sesame paste – it is so versatile and can be used in savoury and sweet dishes. I use it in place of peanut butter in dressing recipes. Sesame is rich in calcium, magnesium, manganese and zinc, low in carbs, high in proteins and a good fat. It is excellent for bone health.
How do you source all the ingredients and the packaging?
FMcV: I have bulk deliveries of organic ingredients delivered to Apothecary 27. I buy the fresh fruits and vegetables from Crossways Fruiterers in Fernhurst. And the packaging is all eco-friendly; for example, the coffee cups and lids are fully compostable.
Tell us what dishes are most popular at the café.
FMcV: Regular customers tell me what they like the most, and I also see what people buy repeatedly. The 'Cheesy' Leek & Broccoli Quiche is quite popular – the ‘cheesy’ filling is made with cashews and nutritional yeast.
The lunch boxes and Buddha bowls are always popular, but people also have seasonal favourites. In the summer, the Fattoush salad is popular, while in the winter my roasted vegetables and lentils salads with various twists get the votes.
Thank you, Florence! We can’t wait to tuck into the nutritious dishes on offer this week!
Florence McVeigh’s Origins IG: @origins_passion_food