Behind the Raw Kitchen: Heath Daly

Behind the Raw Kitchen: Heath Daly

 

Heath applies the ethos he lives by to his business; The Raw Kitchen, which is centred on a healthy, ethical and sustainable way of living.

 

The Raw Kitchen is a plant-based restaurant, with a zero waste lifestyle retail store in house,  as well as home to YogaLab, a yoga studio run by SEan and Kellie Taylor. The goal at Raw Kitchen is to create an entirely sustainable, healthy and ‘single use’ plastic-free environment.

 

Heath and his wife Emma started the business 10 years ago and it has grown immensely in that time.


Photo by Amanda Alessi

 

So tell us, how did the Raw Kitchen come about?

 

“We (wife Emma and I) started with a stall at the Subiaco Growers Markets offering green smoothies and raw treats as well as running public lectures on the raw food lifestyle.

The public lectures and cooking classes were popular as was the little market store and we gained momentum quite quickly. We left the small stall at the Subiaco Growers market and set up permanently at The Fremantle Markets. We were there for 2 years and felt confident that we could move on to bigger things so when a little cafe became available around the corner in Fremantle we decided to take the plunge. At the cafe we created quite an elaborate menu, 100% raw vegan and the only one of its kind at the time. We had lines out the door from the start and had to look for a larger venue, 2 years later we found a much larger venue and started to build the current venue.

 

We’ve been in this building (on High street in Fremantle) for 4 years and to be honest it’s been a challenge but one we have loved. It is a very large business now and requires a lot from us but the people that come make it all worth it.

We’re still the only 100% vegan restaurant in WA. We could even be the only plant-based 100% Vegan restaurant in Australia, I now there are plently of vegetarian restaurants and a number of 100% vegan cafes but not sure about restaurants.”


Photo by Amanda Alessi

 

Was it a hard decision when you realised you needed to employ someone?

“Emma and I both worked 7 days a week for the first 2-3 years and me being inherently lazy that was never going to work long term!

I was working as a naturopath during the week and would thenwork the markets on weekends,  most nights we would be prepping food as well so it was a demanding schedule for both of us but we loved it we were running on pure inspiration.

 

But there came a point where I was about to quit because I was reaching burn out. Luckily as fate would have it a customer, on seeing my fatigued disposition, suggested I might need a hand and are we looking at employing someone. We gave her a shot and she became our first manager.

 

We started employing people from there, but it was super hard because we are very particular and fussy about our product like most people passionate about their craft.”

 

What has worked the best for you in terms of marketing?

“For the first 5-6 years it was all word of mouth, even moving to this bigger venue we didn’t do any advertising for the first year as we were so busy we didn’t see the need. However there comes a time where everyone in business needs to start telling your story and establishing  brand awareness.
We now mainly use Instagram and targetted Facebook adverts as well as direct mailouts to our list.

 

Our plans for the future are to make use of  interesting video content. I want to get to the point where at least 2-3 times a week we get videos up interviewing people of interest and experts in the field of health and wellbeing and try and create interesting and meaningful content.”


Photo by Amanda Alessi

 

What plans do you have for the Raw Kitchen in the future?

 

‘The immediate plan is to extend our Zero Waste lifestyle shop – it’s a huge passion for Em, so we will extend that range. The plastic free movement is of great interest to us.

 


Photo by Amanda Alessi

From there, it will be a menu change and rebrand because being called ‘The Raw Kitchen’ doesn’t truly represent us anymore. We don’t want to be tied to a name where we feel obliged to have raw food on the menu, we are inspired by progressive, healthy plant based foods as well as the new trend in elixirs, medicinal drinks.

 

Has there been a time where things have gotten really tough?

“When there was a slump in the economy a number of years ago it hit hospitality and we felt it pretty hard as did other bigger venues.

We just had to survive, we scrambled for a little bit and had to run on a skeleton crew for a while but we tried new tactics and kept trialling new strategies. It has been an education for us,we have learnt a lot.

 

Why raw food and plant-based food?

 

“The reason we started talking about it was because we were heavily into it and we believe in it. The reason we try and be plastic free here is because we are at home, we are in to it on a personal level. We always want to be authentic and aim to have our business congruent with our belief systems.

The reason we started a business in raw food was because that’s where our passion was, it was what got us the most excited at the time and what we had excess energy for.”

 

What other things do you do at The Raw Kitchen?

“We do yoga, events, cooking classes, workshops and lectures.

 

We try and do a lecture a month and a workshop a month.

My speciality it to show people who are trying to be plant-based or vegan, how to do it healthily, how to get all of the nutrients you need for optim,al well being. You can’t afford to be lazy with a vegan or plant-based diet.

 

We are about showing people how to get more nutrients out of a plant based diet, you don’t have to be 100% vegan, we are not pro-vegan or pro-vegetarian, we are just pro-plant based and want people to eat as much of it as they want knowing they can get all of their nutrients from that diet once they know how.  Our whole philosophy here is inclusive not exclusive.”

 


Photo by Amanda Alessi

 

Do you and Em have different specialty areas at The Raw Kitchen?

 

“The workshops are my thing. Em runs the business, she runs the nuts and bolts, the aesthetics, the nitty gritty – she is the brains.

When we first started this she was running the business and studying post-grad medicine, and crushing it- she was top 5% in med. But then eventually had to quit medicine because the business was growing quickly and demanding too much. Em is the left brain and I am the right, together we make it work and keep it fun.”

 

The Raw Kitchen are located at 181A High Street in Fremantle and are open Monday- Wednesday 11.30 -3.30pm and Thursday – Sunday 11.30 – 9pm.

 

 

 

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