Holly Redman is a Chef, Nutritional Therapist and Chemistry graduate, with a huge passion for seriously delicious food! She’s on a mission to change the mind set of the masses who perceive ‘free-from’ food as being bland and tasteless to a mouth-watering way of eating!
I sat down with Holly in London to talk about her latest venture, Pure Taste, the UK’s first Gluten free and Paleo restaurant, opening right here in the capital! As a Paleo enthusiast myself I was eager to learn more, and was especially curious to find out when it will be open!
I’m celiac so I started eating Gluten free, I felt better but not still not fantastic. I discovered that dairy and grain still cause me some issues, switching to Paleo eradicates those and I feel great!
What types of food have you eaten throughout your life? Was that an influence, or was a dramatic change needed at some point?
Mum is a very good home cook; she always made things from scratch so I was bought up making things from ingredients, rather than from packets.
You’re so busy, how do you find time to cook at home?
Cooking decent, nutritious food actually takes 5 minutes to prep and whilst it’s cooking I can do other stuff.
What is your favourite Paleo meal?
Any really good quality meat, like a grass fed rib eye and salsa Verde. Anything with big flavours!
Have you got an adventurous palate?
Absolutely, I’ll try anything that doesn’t harm me. So I wouldn’t try something with bread but I’ve eaten beef hearts, in fact I love a good beef heart stew!
What about horse? Yep, I’ve eaten horse!
You were successfully funded on KickStarter in December – how are you progressing? Did you find a suitable location?
We’ve been looking in London since January, but the property market suddenly seemed to be dry and it’s been a slower process than we’d thought. We’ve looked in Marlebone, Clapham, Islington, Fulham… all over. It’s got to be somewhere with good transport links, so that people can reach it not only within London but easily from outside.
What was the KickStarter experience like?
Hellish! *laughs*, It’s just very very hard work, because with Kickstarter it’s all or nothing. You have to hit your target to be funded. And it relies on having a huge community around you. That’s the only downside, you need lots of contacts to get the attention it needs.
Non Paleo friends
I often find a remarkable amount of resistance when cooking for friends and family who aren’t wheat free, and certainly far from Paleo. They assume the food will be bland and tasteless (but are usually delightfully surprised when they actually try it!!). While there’s no doubt that people’s mindset is changing, do you think there is a sufficient number of Paleo eaters to satisfy the demand?
I often get the same. The trend [Paleo] is growing but what I want is for my restaurant to be well regarded for it’s food, not just being all Gluten Free/Paleo.
How confident are you that Paleo in the UK isn’t simply a trend?
It’s a growing trend, and with more and more people realising it’s simply real food it will last.
Do you anticipate a lot of other Paleo restaurants appearing after yours? Does this concern you?
I would hope there are more that follow, I want to be able to go out for dinner too! *laughs*
There are other gluten free restaurants in London and I welcome more that serve nutritious real food.
What dish are you most excited about on your new menu?
The menu will be seasonal so it will often change. I am excited about hearing feedback from my diners. When running the pop ups I’d walk around after service to talk to people about their meal. People would come to the pop up restaurants because they liked the food, not because they are Paleo. Usually three out of four were not but all were impressed. I served a Paleo curry with cauliflower rice one night, which I had called cauliflower pilau. When talking with customers, one woman said, “I didn’t have any cauliflower in my rice!?”, she’d tasted what she had expected to have been served. I explained what cauliflower rice is and she thought that was wonderful! “That’s one of my 5 a day”.
Will you find time to do the same [talk to people after service] in your restaurant?
Yes definitely, I don’t want to be a chef that will just serve a plate of food and that’s it, I like to make people happy with food.
What one ingredient do you ALWAYS ensure you have in your kitchen?
Oh that’s really hard!! Probably eggs, I go through around 30 eggs a week. Mainly from baking for others. I pay my personal trainer with food. He has no allergies so I can use him to compare what a Paleo creation is like [compared to the non-paleo original]. I went through about 60 eggs last week trying to make Paleo profiteroles – at batch 9 or 10 they were great!
What other things do you like to make Paleo?
I like making things that are a challenge, recently I made a Paleo Crème Egg. I wasn’t that healthy but it was Paleo!
What was it made from?
Dark chocolate, honey, xylitol powder, egg white powder and natural flavourings.
Will there be a launch party?
Yes, there will be two. One for press and one for our guests.
Me: Make sure you invite me then! 🙂
What one thing would you want your customers to be thinking when they leave the restaurant after dining with you?
That they have had an awesome meal! People forget what real food tastes like; real food does not have to be complicated. It’s all about great ingredients and perfectly matched spices.
It was a great pleasure to sit down with Holly, she clearly knows here stuff and I have no doubt her restaurant will be packed. Not only with Paleo and Gluten Free diners but because the food she describes will taste utterly delicious! The photos throughout are Holly’s creations – I for one, can’t wait to try them!
Find Pure Taste at http://puretasterestaurant.com
On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PureTastePopUp
And on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ptrestaurants
Photo credits go to: Matt Redman, SPMF photography