Raw food is hot news right now as a way of eating not only desired by dedicated detox fans but also stressed Londoners in need of a burst of energy. So we were delighted when we discovered one of our favourite raw chocolatier/chef, making delights at the delectable Ace Hotel in collaboration with Lovage. Here’s our interview with the glamorous Laura Coxeter:
It was such a welcome surprise to see that you have been partnering with the Ace Hotel to show people the delights of live food cuisine – tell me, how did that come about?
Shortly after it opened, I got a DJ gig there, through the radio station I host a weekly show on, NTS Live. After that, I had a meeting with them, as I loved the space. I ended up running a monthly club event in the basement, which ran for 9 months, called ‘After work dance club’. The aim was to encourage people to come dancing, early evening (the event ran from 7pm-11pm) & the bar served juices!
Then Ace hotel asked me to do regular raw chocolate workshops which were such a success from the start! It’s such a nice venue to work in & the crowd we attracted was pretty diverse & not your typical ‘health food fans’. This was the start of a great relationship between myself & the staff there. I think we are on the same page, wanting to make healthy eating fun, creative & cool!
Are you also noticing a trend in health conscious active city dwellers taking a greater interest in this way of eating? If so, what do you think might be motivating them?
I think we are seeing a real rise in popularity of certain health foods & diets. Some of it, I fear is negative. However, on the whole it’s great to see people being more adventurous, open minded & taking control of their own health!
Young people are wising up. Nobody wants to be tired, sluggish, overweight or suffering from poor immune health. Living in London is pretty demanding & I think the message is clear now, that what you put in your body plays a huge part in how you feel & perform.
The fact that good food is becoming more easily available in the city is great. But there’s definitely room for more. A lot of people make poor choices due to convenience. If more of the good stuff becomes available, at an affordable price, that’ll all change. It’s a lot to do with the psychology of people’s buying/eating habits. We know that now. It’s time big companies took more responsibility for what they offer the masses.
Now you’ve been in the business of creating artisan live foods (especially delicious chocolates) for some time. Back then eating uncooked was seen as quite a niche culinary interest! Why do you think this appears to have crossed more into the mainstream now?
Yes. I was in a minority for a long time! People got sick of hearing me harp on about it. Now, Lot’s of those people (several years later) are the ones embracing positive new habits! This makes me happy. The conclusion I made a long time ago, is that individuals must find these things out for themselves. Nobody likes to be preached at. It’s part of the joy, discovering a new path. It often just takes one little inspiring moment for that journey to begin. Like going to a workshop, reading an article, visiting a restaurant or eating a great meal that a friend has prepared for you.
Of course, as I’ve mentioned before- lots of the healthier choices are more readily available now. This helps! High street fast food joints are offering juices & salads, supermarkets are stocking super foods. Articles are being written daily. I think it’s just that it has taken us, as a nation, a bit longer to ‘cotton on’. I also think that the quote “The proof is in the pudding” has lots to do with it. We are beginning to see the longer term effects of certain people who’ve followed cleaner lifestyles. Our climate often guides us to comforting, heavier foods. Obviously that doesn’t help. But when you see the effects of just a week or two of better eating- it’s hard to go back!
What kinds of foods do you enjoy preparing most and why?
I love eating quite simple meals at home. My partner and I both cook & we eat a lot of ‘throw it all in a bowl’ type meals. These consist of grains such as quinoa or millet, fermented veggies, raw veg, sprouts and avocados. I’m always playing with sweet recipes. Medicinal chocolates with herbs, as well as tonic teas which are like dairy free, highly nutritious lattes.
How can people trying out live foods for the first time overcome common pitfalls in transitioning to this way of eating?
I believe balance is key. I eat a good mix of cooked & raw. In colder months I use warming spices & slow cook my veg. By adding sprouted/fermented foods I know I’ve got plenty of enzymes going in. It’s important to try new things constantly & to rotate your foods! People can easily get stuck in a rut. Food Should be a pleasure as well as nourishing. I’d say it’s better to eat some cooked grains & veg to satisfy, than to load up on too many raw fats & sweets. That’s never going to work long term.
We were so sad to miss your April class! Are you planning to do more events this year? If so where will they be?
I’m doing another workshop at Ace hotel on May 2nd. I’ll be showing people recipes using juice pulp! It’s in collaboration with Lovage, their in -house juice bar. As I’m expecting twins this summer I’ll be winding down soon. However, I do make cakes to order & am available for private Raw Chocolate workshops.
Photo © Laura Coxeter