When you hear the phrase ‘health food’, you may be inclined to think of bland vegetables and protein shakes. But take one look at the menu of Auckland’s The Raw Kitchen and it’s obvious that this definitely isn’t the case. Meals like Italian Zoodles with smokey paprika walnut ‘meatballs’, Mexican Bowls with creamy coconut avocado mousse, cacao peanut butter balls and Strawberry and Lemon Cake (just to name a few) embellish the mouth-wateringly nutritious menu.
Founder Olivia Scott is an advocate for holistic wellness and is passionate about nature, fitness and the connection between our psyche and how we nourish our body. She not only founded and runs The Raw Kitchen, she also speaks at wellness events and last year published her first book. We caught up with the health-wiz and found out about her favourite meals, what a day in her (very active) life consists of and her advice for eating raw.
You studied business and commerce and have a passion for nature, fitness and health. Did you always know you wanted to unite your knowledge of business with your love of wellness? How did the idea for The Raw Kitchen come about?
I have always loved business and food, but never thought I would own a food business! I actually had a career planned in fashion. I used to design and make my own clothes and thought this was my path. It wasn't until my last year of studying business that I found my passion for raw food. It was such a big love that I couldn’t ignore it. I backtracked and went back to school to study nutrition, which was when I started the business as a side project. The idea came about through basically creating a brand I wished existed at the time, my idea of a healthy food brand that was interesting, fresh and approachable.
The Raw Kitchen has expanded enormously since you founded it in 2013. Have you had to adapt your priorities, routines or lifestyle to manage such a growing business?
The business has changed and evolved a lot, more than I could have anticipated. The only thing that has stayed constant has been my practice of yoga and meditation. The nature of the business is that it’s always changing and not one day is the same. One day my day can start at 4.30am and some days I don't need to be anywhere at all. Therefore my energy for an intense workout (HIIT or a long run for example) is very different to the next and I need to adapt to this. Hence the importance of keeping a mindfulness practice is so important amongst the hustle!
Walk us through an average day for you, if there is one.
My average work day would be starting early with hot yoga at Studio Red, working in store until 2pm, doing laptop work and "admin" until 4pm, then a long walk around the Westhaven Marina (near my home) and then home for dinner, with a bit of yoga and meditation before bed. Sometimes there are full days of meetings or working from home but it depends on what’s happening in the business at the time. I really love working in store and chatting to the customers.
It can be quite a challenge to maintain healthy eating habits! What are your tips for those hoping to wean themselves off refined sugar and processed food and start eating raw?
I think firstly, reading books or watching documentaries that inspire you to understand the why is the most important part. You have to understand on a deeper level what exactly is going on in your body when you stop eating sugar, eliminate processed foods and introduce nutrient filled foods. Then, just start slowly and begin to notice your body responding to your new ways. As you become more in tune with what your body enjoys and what works for you, you begin to have a new respect and inspiration for taking care of your health.
As well as owning The Raw Kitchen, you also speak at wellness events, contribute recipes to a number of cookbooks and have published your own book! What has been your career highlight so far?
Honestly, I just love seeing customers enjoy what we do. It makes everything worth it.
What’s your number one tip for those wanting to start their own business endeavour?
Just do it! What have you got to lose? If the business is a success or not, everything is an experience and you learn from whatever happens, which then helps to shape who you are and what you stand for.
What’s your favourite quick and easy meal to cook after a day at work?
My go to is a big salad with whatever veggies are in season, with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil as a dressing, with a bunch of nuts, seeds, sauerkraut, and avocado or tahini. Yum.
And your favourite raw sweet?
I like a simple bitter cacao bliss ball - ironically I don't have a big sweet tooth but am obsessed with cacao!
What exciting things do you have coming up for the rest of 2017?
Really excited to be launching a new juice cleanse range very soon. I am working with an awesome photographer and excited to see what we produce!