Promoting good food
The aim of the “Eat Well, Live Well” campaign is very simple – to promote great tasting healthy foods and diets. There is a new generation of foods and products that are emerging that are both excellent in taste and healthy to eat. Our goal is simply to promote great food and diets that will make a difference.
Over the course of the next few months EP will be running features on healthy foods and ongoing trends in the healthy eating sector.
In this blog, Philippa Cresswell of EP Evolution talks about the development of healthy eating options for children.
I have, over the last couple of years, written a number of blogs about a subject very close to my heart – that of healthy eating options for children.
I feel strongly that it is about equipping parents with the knowledge they need (and hopefully want) to ensure they provide their children with a balanced diet and more importantly a balanced view of food to enable them to make their own considered decisions as they grow.
I am also concerned that the bland menus we see in nearly every hotel and restaurant does nothing to educate our children’s palate to the wide variety of cuisine, flavours, textures and eating styles which are so prevalent across the UK and of course the World.
So it was both interesting and exciting after my last blog on this subject to receive an equally passionate response from a much lauded industry expert Cyrus Todiwala.
Cyrus – successful restaurateur in his own right (although he does need to work on his omelette having seen his attempt on Saturday Kitchen) and with strong roots in a culture where children eat the same foods as adults (albeit in smaller portions) from an early age and as part of the family dining experience was seeing first hand in his own establishments – where food is offered to children based on this cultural experience, that there is a lack of awareness and understanding of the need to educate and involve both children and parents in wider options than chicken nuggets !
Cyrus is already active in educating children and is involved in a number of charities and programmes both within London and in India, but we met at his restaurant and agreed to start working to ‘chip away’ and continue to keep this subject on everyone’s agenda.
A great start point and interesting project is The Park Cafe in Victoria Park which Cyrus opened just over a year ago. The park is oldest and 2nd largest municipal park in the United Kingdom, with the Olympic park only a stone’s throw away and it is situated in the heart of Tower Hamlets and Hackney estates. Tower Hamlets also has the unenviable tag of 2nd most obese Borough.
The customer base spans over 60s, runners, walkers and of course parents and very young children. Being so passionate about children and their knowledge of food, coupled with a very strong ethos around great ingredients, proper kitchens, giving back to the community and having bought his own family up in the area, this seemed the perfect opportunity to see if he could make a difference.
From an uncomfortable start – having to offer what the existing customer wanted (and he didn’t want them to have !) – think sugary drinks, chips, chicken nuggets, it has been a slow journey to reshape the offer to one which he wants customers to enjoy. Now run by Cyrus’ son who has just as much passion for doing it properly, the restaurant offers some amazing homemade products for children –macaroni cheese, mixed vegetable pasta, sweet potato fries (cooked in rapeseed oil) high quality locally reared sausages and free range eggs (choose your own from the basket and they will make it into whatever egg item you like) and of course plenty of proper Indian dishes. Slowly and now very surely there is a strong base of parents who actively steer clear of the hot dog (albeit 95% great quality pork) opting for more adventurous and healthier items for their children, and as the cafe offers homemade baby food for £1 it is even starting to educate the new generation of children.
And the journey isn’t over yet ! There will soon be the start of homemade bread, bacon will soon come from their local high end supplier and local community work with Tower Hamlets to involve and educate continues to be high on the agenda.
Philippa has worked in the hospitality and travel industry for 20 years, specialising in brand and concept design, operations and implementation. During that time she has worked for high profile brands including NEXT, House of Fraser, Debenhams, Safeway and the Virgin group. Most recently Philippa was New Product Development Director at Virgin Trains, responsible for scoping the customer experience strategy and ensuring its delivery to support the Virgin Brand umbrella. A creative, customer centric and results driven consultant with a passion for delivering real value at all levels of a business.