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Love for salads
25/07/2016 - 14:32
After a 15-year career in graphic design, a blog and a book celebrating his love of salads, David Bez opened his new healthy dining concept, SaladPride, in the heart of Neal’s Yard, Seven Dials, earlier this year. Maria Bracken caught up with him
SaladPride began life as a daily food blog written by Bez in 2010. The blog soon took off via social media and now has a global following of over 50,000, with followers all wanting daily inspiration for healthy, balanced salad recipes. This success led to Bez launching his first book, SaladLove in 2004. He went on to open SaladPride as the next step in its growth plans.
The cafe, covering 333 sq ft and a 12-cover dining area, offers a comprehensive range of unique salads all made from fresh and organic ingredients. Bez says the ambition for SaladPride is to create an artisan and healthy food offering. He says: "Connecting with the energy and the spirit of Neal's Yard, Seven Dials, is a must for the development of the philosophy."
He adds that the secret to success is to give people tasty food that is good for them, the environment and for the communities. "Beauty and ethics needs to be connected.
All of SaladPride's menu items are served in bowls, which Bez identifies as an up and coming trend. Sweet breakfast bowls include buckwheat with banana, pink grapefruit, toasted pistachios, cinnamon, date syrup, coconut yogurt; the savoury options include British quinoa with roasted red pepper, tamari mushrooms, butter beans, pumpkin seeds and micro greens ((£6 to eat in, £5 takeaway).
Salad bowls, priced at £8 to eat in and £7 to takeaway, include kale, heritage carrot, roasted red pepper, chickpeas, sunflower seeds and paprika dressing as well as watercress with cherry tomatoes, avocado, butter beans, pumpkin seend and fennel & dill dressing.
Salads and smoothies are top sellers on the menu, however Bez says the salad with buckwheat, mushroom and squash and smoothie with pineapple and turmeric goes down particularly well with his customers.
Absolutely everything is refined sugar free, gluten free and vegan (unless you add egg or cheese).
He identifies gluten-free as an important factor on their menus: "Gluten-free is very popular and topical at the minute. It is being connected to too many controversial nutritional theories, but it is not the only piece of the puzzle. It's very important for me to give organic plant-based and fresh ingredients to my customers."
Drinks wise, in addition to the smoothie and juices range, SaladPride also has a strong hot beverage offering, serving speciality Caravan coffee as well as golden turmeric, beetroot and matcha lattes along with a whole variety of teas.
Bez goes on to identify the opportunities and challenges going forward for the business and industry: "To keep competitive prices in a market where rents and rates can be really high whilst maintaining a very high standard quality of the food, and using as much locally sourced and organic ingredients."
He adds that, as an industry, we aren't doing enough to help tackle obesity levels. "Businesses mainly think about business and not really about getting people to reduce their sugar intake. They believe that this is a problem for the government to solve. Here, at SaladPride, the offer we have is healthy and continues to grow in popularity. We believe our books are one step to help educate people that healthy food is exciting, tasty and fun, whilst encouraging people to try something new."
In terms of expansion plans, Bez says this is definitely on the cards. "We will focus on London first, but would also like to aim for countries like Italy, the rest of Europe and the USA. Our books are already available worldwide, so why not make SaladPride a worldwide concept too."