Who better to feature in our month of pairings than a business that seriously knows a thing or two about food pairings. We have been working with Elysia for a while now; one of our longest standing customers, in fact, from using our juice pulp crackers back in the day, to regularly sourcing our brownies made from juice pulp. Founded by Sophie Andre, a fellow food waste worrier since starting in 2017; they have saved more than 9 tonnes of British artisan food from going to waste and served more than 29,000 people around London. That is most certainly something worth celebrating.
1. Can you give us an introduction - what is Elysia about?
Elysia is an event catering company. Based in London, we have a sustainable focus and are on a mission to reduce food waste, whilst also making giving more people access to high-quality artisan produce and creating economic value for all our stakeholders: producers, employees, partners and clients! We do this by sourcing surplus ingredients that are deemed naturally ‘imperfect’ or due to overproduction, unsellable. All of our ingredients and products are supplied from local artisanal producers. And to top that off, we transport our food for your event on our cargo bike! Since we started in 2017, we saved more than 9 tonnes of artisan British food and served more than 25,000 people around London! You can find more information about the ingredients we source on our website.
2. Where did the idea for creating a sustainable, upcycling catering company originally come from?
Freshly arriving in London Sophie had the idea to sell high-quality breakfasts on-the-go for commuters next to tube stations, She wished to create a transformative work environment for people with high barriers to employment. Her inspiration came from the American social entrepreneur, Joe Deloss, who founded Hot Chicken Takeover in Columbus (OH). The next couple of months, Sophie had the chance to meet with talented social entrepreneurs, charity directors and food specialists. They helped her better understand the ecosystem in London where she discovered a world of new food: the surplus. By talking with local producers, she learned that a small part of the production is sometimes wasted due to the size or shape of the product while the quality of the products remains unchanged. For instance, some cheese wheels need to be tasted during the maturing process by the cheesemonger to know whether the cheese is ready to be sold or need more time. The cheesemonger puts a long knife inside the wheel and remove a little bit of the inside to taste it - the wheels end up with holes and imperfections. We can buy those wheels and transform them for our canapes such as Cheese mousse, Cheese Tuile, Welsh Rarebit and many more. In 2017 Elysia was finally up and running! Offering breakfasts & canapes handmade with a personal touch. All the products are carefully selected and delivered by foot or using our zero emission cargo bicycle across London. After a few months predominantly offering breakfast, we decided to take the leap and scaled our operation to event catering.
3. What is one thing you wish people knew about Elysia?
The reason behind our name: Elysia. The word Elysia stems from a place in Greek mythology, the Elysian fields. The Elysian fields symbolise a state or place of perfect happiness, where everyone can go for their afterlife. This to us resembles our offering, in which we give food a second life.
4. Describe your work place in 3 words:
Unconventional, Joyful & Full of produce!
' Since we started in 2017, we saved more than 9 tonnes of artisan British food and served more than 25,000 people around London '
5. What's the long term, big picture dream, for Elysia?
The main goal for Elysia is to raise awareness about food waste and share solutions individuals and businesses to reduce waste in a simple and effective way. We have started this journey with catering in London but don't want to stop there! Franchising, retail products, workshops & consulting are other paths we are exploring to scale our activity and fulfill the aim of the company.
6. How do you hope to make a difference?
We hope to help raise awareness about the issue of food waste. We believe it is a collective responsibility in the food industry to revalue food and pay a fair price for each ingredient. We share information on events about the story of the produce we source. We also started to do cooking workshops for adults and kids with simple tips and recipes to help reduce food waste. You can find more information and recipes on our blog.
7. What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
Don't be a twat!
8. What's your favourite Winter meal?
Our Crostinis with Stuffed Winter Squash, Olive Caramel and Red Onions!9. Where would we find you on a Sunday morning?
Enjoying a large breakfast after a run in the park!
10. What's your number one food waste fighting tip?
Buy only what you need.
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All Photos © Elysia