Our Guest Blogger , Natasha Gamra helps us all navigate this holiday season with some tips and tricks to get you through in one (or an even better) piece!
The Naturally Good Expo was on in Sydney April 27-30 and as a Health and Wellness Expert/Foodie/Curious Creature/Food-Tech Start-Up Founder, it was a must-do for me.
We should note here that as a Food-Tech Start-Up Founder (aka notorious for never quite knowing what day/time it is…!), I had a couple of false starts in terms of actually getting to the showroom floor to immerse myself amongst all the stalls, demonstrations, displays and general Naturally Good Goodness;
Friday was the Naturally Good Business Summit where our very own UFOODI Co-Founder Brad Menachmenson was a panellist talking all things Start-Up and Investment, and it was at this point I thought I could sneak off to indulge in the expo, but as the expo itself didn’t start that day, I was encouraged to return instead on the weekend to explore…
Rolling up wide-eyed and bushy-tailed on Saturday morning I quickly realised that, once again, I had made the crucial mistake of not actually knowing what day it was and had to hide said tail between my legs as I left ICC in anticipation for…
SUNDAY. Expo Day 1. Finally!
With my printed badge and lanyard in hand I strutted my way into Hall 4, like my life depended on it – and I was not disappointed. Full of food, beverage, and health and beauty products, it was difficult to not accumulate samples or brochures or new friends.
Here’s a round-up of what caught my eye/belly;
Their Fat Bombs/ “Chew the Fat” energy bars were AMAZING. I’m always looking for new and interesting Keto Snacks/Hacks and as someone who has been experimenting with Keto for a few years now (and is currently Keto) coupled with being a busy Start-Up Founder who needs to find clean sources of energy to perform my best, these were a massive win for me.
Creators of a Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate born and brewed in Newcastle NSW (a company after my own heart as a Novocastrian myself!), these guys take it to the next level with their Nitro Cold Brew Coffee, a cold brew infused with nitrogen to create a deliciously creamy, smooth cold brew coffee without the dairy you’d normally require for the creaminess. I would have had 8 cups on the day if they’d let me. I love it for its simple ingenuity but also because I can enjoy this knowing that it is 67% less acidic than normal coffee (good for my gut and my teeth!) and because I can drink it with a good dollop of cream and ice (hello Keto!), not to mention helping this Start-Up Founder charge on and stay awake on the daily!
Ok, stay with me here; Grilo Protein is all about Crickets: a nutrient dense, sustainable, high protein alternative to traditional protein options. I’ve been exploring insect/cricket proteins for a few years now and I love how the team at Grilo are being mindful and creative about how to make this more palatable for EVERYBODY rather than straight up giving you creepy full baked crickets to eat.
I was lucky enough to snap up some samples of their Super Greens, Cricket Protein and Cricket Powder that I’m keen to play around with and share my experiences. I once attempted baking Bread using Cricket Flour which wasn’t all that successful, but I’m feeling curiously over-confident this time…!
As someone with an auto-immune condition that is also conscious about the effects of Sugar and Gluten on my body and health it is very rare when you can have a donut that is Sugar Free, Low Carb and High Fibre and Gluten-Free that actually tastes good. This is where Noshu really shines. I met Founder Rachel all the way back in 2014 and loved the concept (and the Choc Raspberry Donut!), so I was thrilled to see an expansion of the range and growth of the brand at the Expo. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favour and try one of their donuts, and if you want to make them that little bit extra, feel free to add some coconut ice-cream… you can thank me later ;)
A particularly cool area at the Expo was the “Start-Up Zone” – a collection of stalls that housed the newest ideas, products and services; a true representation of the focus and future of food/beverage/health and beauty. A Kudos to the Naturally Good Team for giving the start-up scene an opportunity to interact and validate their businesses/ideas at the Expo. Some really cool stuff I saw in this zone included new plant-based/vegan products, honey-based products, alternative protein products (this is where I found the crickets!) and baby/child products. Special mention must go to the Organic, Sugar & Gluten Free, Vegan Lollipops by Koochikoo (these have been tried, tested and approved by the 8-year-old in our house!).
And on that note, that wraps up my little field trip, I hope that helped paint a picture of all things natural and good! You can check out the exhibitors and see some of their highlight photos and videos here at their website https://naturallygood.com.au/. I highly recommend going to their next show (June 2-3 2019) … and I will probably see you there with a Noshu Donut and Nitro Cold Brew Coffee in hand!
A new food fad seems to be on the horizon every couple of months, and whether it’s a new diet we all HAVE to try; think Paleo, Primal, Pescatarian or Flexitarian, a new health food product we didn’t know we couldn’t live without (and now we can only survive with) like; Acai, Juice/Soup Cleanses and Kombucha, or some new ridiculously indulgent fusion food item such as; Cronuts or (it’s not inappropriate to say “and” here and have both…) Freakshakes, it seems we’re destined to a life of food fads that come and go as quickly as the seasons/we change our underwear.
Cue the “hottest food trend of 2018”
Put simply, the Vegan Diet consists of fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes; excludes or minimises animal products such as meat and dairy and takes a clean approach to ingredients in order to limit or eliminate refined/processed ingredients.
Despite the hype and the temporary rise to fame that we tend to experience with these “hot food trends”, the Vegan Movement is bringing with it some incredibly interesting swagger especially in the Australian Market;
- Australia is the third fastest growing market in the world for vegan foods, with the value of vegan-labelled food mushrooming from $135.9m in 2015 to $153m in 2016 [source: research by Euromonitors International]
- Australians eating a mainly vegetarian diet has risen by over 23 per cent in the last four years [source: research by Roy Morgan]
- As of March 2016, 2.1 million people living in Australia said they ate a complete or mainly vegetarian diet. That makes up 11.2 per cent of the population [source: reasearch by Roy Morgan]
To top it off, we’re seeing some evolution of menu offerings in regards to making Vegan specific foods available at all levels of the food service space;
Want Burgers? Try Soul Burger in Sydney
Sunday Brunch? Try The Little Shop of Plenty in Perth
Pizza? Try Red Sparrow in Melbourne
Japanese? Try Ginzamiyako in Adelaide
ALL the baked goods? Try Veganyumm Dessert Bakehouse in Brisbane
Last, but certainly not least, the first 100% plant-based hotel restaurant in Australia, Alibi, will be opening at the Ovolo Hotel in Wooloomooloo, Sydney, this month, further validation that this is not another food trend to simply scoff at?
So, with so much validation from the market from consumers and businesses is this really a trend or something more?
Over the past 5 years, there has been a major shift in consciousness surrounding food, consumption, health and how we impact the environment and it appears the Vegan Diet is a vehicle that is allowing people to live these values.
Regardless of your personal food values, there are several positive attributes of the Vegan approach;
- Ethical – helping to highlight/improve ethical treatment of and use of animals
- Health – increases consumption of fresh whole foods, reduces processed and high sugar ingredients, aids in weight loss, can reduce the risk of serious illness
- Sustainability – helping to reduce environmental impact (production/resources/waste)
- Financial – lower cost to maintain a vegan diet vs. a diet that includes meat
If you’re interested in exploring the diet/lifestyle, it is always important to note however, that in removing certain ingredients/food groups from your diet there can be a risk of deficiencies, a main criticism of the Vegan Diet, so ensure you communicate and consider the opinions of medical and health practitioners that can help you with the trial or transition.
Alternatively, if you are already living a Vegan Lifestyle, there is a much greater recognition and support of your requirements above and beyond the humble bowl of steamed veggies or a grilled mushroom when you choose to eat out. And, although it’s not there yet, the evolution of the food space is positive and encouraging!
Ultimately, at Ufoodi, we believe that the food we eat and the way we choose to eat it (hot new trends or otherwise), should be about enjoying what you eat, playing fair and delicious and feeding your belly and your soul.
Here’s to what’s to come, this is just the Veganning!
Food allergies or intolerances are a pain. Eating out with a food allergy or intolerance is even more of a pain.
Some restaurants are very accommodating; they either have particular food parameters in place (e.g. Gluten Free Menu) or staff who are well trained and can assist you in navigating their menu based on your particular allergy or intolerance (You restaurants and café’s ROCK by the way – and perhaps a story for another time if you live in Sydney or Melbourne!). More-often-than-not however, most restaurants are unwilling to prepare something allergy/intolerance specific (they don’t know how to charge/process it, the chefs are too busy etc.), or they are simply unable to service your requests (they do not have the appropriate ingredients available or cannot guarantee any cross-contamination, traces etc..). See? Pain.
For those of you who don’t have an allergy or intolerance or don’t know anyone close to you that does, let’s discuss the difference below.
A Food Allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food. Even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives or swollen airways. (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/food-allergy/symptoms-causes/syc-20355095)
A food intolerance is more directly related to how well your body can digest a particular food and doesn’t involve an immune response. The symptoms are generally less serious than allergies and most people can eat small amounts of an offending food item without too much trouble or reaction. The true symptoms, however, are not a walk in the park and may include digestive related issues (we won’t get graphic here) or even asthma attacks. (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/food-allergy/expert-answers/food-allergy/faq-20058538)
In Australia, approximately 4 million Australians (or approximately 20% of the population), identify as having a food allergy or intolerance (as per study conducted by The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy in 2014).
So how do you, or can you, if you know someone with a food allergy or intolerance, be smart about and enjoy eating out?
If you haven’t decided on a restaurant, a quick google search for your specific requirements will help guide you on where might be best to eat. If you’ve already decided on a restaurant (typically happens with groups of friends or family…), visit the restaurants website for menu information or give them a quick call to find out if they can accommodate your needs.
Even though you may have spoken to someone on the phone or scoped out the menu yourself prior to visiting the restaurant, be sure to communicate your needs to the staff/manager/chef of the restaurant before ordering. Be clear about what you can’t eat and state your allergy or intolerance. Follow up by asking open questions like “What oil do you use for X dressing or to cook X food in?” so that you can ensure you have a dialogue about what is suitable and you feel comfortable that the restaurant understands your requirements.
3. Check, check, check.
No, not the bill - your food. Sometimes you still might end up with something on your plate that's not supposed to be there. Some foods are easier to detect than others of course. For example, as a person who is allergic to pineapple, I’m highly aware of its presence within quite a large radius of me. I’m lucky in the sense that this food is usually easily detectible due to its colour and its smell. I’m unlucky in the sense that I know it’s delicious, and that it’s determined to take me out of this world, so we tend to run in different crowds!
My most recent run in with “Ninja Pineapple” was at a restaurant that some friends and I went to for some afternoon birthday drinks, we decided to order some cocktail jugs off the menu, one that was listed as having pineapple in it and one that was not (which we had ordered so I could also partake in cocktails!), turns out they BOTH had pineapple in them! I sniffed it out and didn’t drink it, the manager and restaurant were very helpful and made another jug (sans pineapple) and didn’t charge us for it. You have to be a damn food detective, but sometimes the stakes are too high if you let your guard down.
4. Be Prepared.
Always have your medication or epi-pen with you just in-case. Make sure someone knows where to find it in case of a more serious emergency so that they can help you.
5. Enjoy Yourself.
There can be a bit of anxiety, stress and pain surrounding trying to eat out with a food allergy or intolerance, but organisation and communication is key! So, when you find a great place that can make you great food surrounded by great company, sit back, relax and enjoy!
Dinner. Thursday Night. You and 5 friends. You walk up to the restaurant entrance. Cue Music: Mission Impossible theme track…
You’re about to commit the cardinal sin known as “Cheffing” – the practice of changing elements of a dish/meal to meet your personal nutrition/health requirements. Your request is usually met with reluctance, and you’ve already noticed the “NO CHANGES”/ “NO SUBSTITUTIONS” in bold uppercase letters at the bottom of your menu, but you decide that you’re game enough tonight to ask about a few different dishes and try your luck for a change or two. No sooner have you uttered the words, “I was wondering if I could change…”, the waiter directs your attention to the bold print at the bottom of the menu, and you’re back to square one, or, if you were Agent Ethan Hunt, you’re hanging dangerously close to the pressure and temperature sensitive vault floor in a truly precarious position, and you’re not quite sure what to do next. In essence, what should be a simple meal with friends or family is fraught with difficulty or compromise and the experience is just not as fulfilling as you hoped it would be.
Creating your own products, aka, customisation, has been around for decades across multiple platforms, in fact, it’s been a driving force behind some of the world’s most well-known services and brands. Think: Amazon, who use data to present us with a personalised set of products to choose from each and every time we shop and Starbucks, where we have up to 87,000 different options to create our beverage of choice! Come to think of it, today you can go into almost any yoghurt, salad or juice bar and customise your order to the exact ingredients you like!
So, what about Restaurants?
As a customer, we know that our “Cheffing” usually has a little something to do personal preferences - those that are concerned with what they eat from a lifestyle/nutrition/health perspective or those that have an allergy, intolerance or condition associated with a certain ingredient(s).
The Australian Bureau of statistics collected data in the Australian Health Survey in 2014 that indicated that almost 4 million people reported a food type allergy or intolerance. Additionally, with Australians becoming more informed and knowledgeable about their health and the significant impact food and nutrition has on their overall wellness (key trends include alternative lifestyles/diets – paleo, vegan, pescatarian, the rise of nut milks and substitutes for dairy, avoiding processed/refined sugars, gluten-free etc - see article HERE), it’s becoming clear that the adoption of customisation for customers by restaurants will allow for greater customer satisfaction. And heck, even if it’s not about allergies and intolerances or lifestyle/dietary choices for YOU, maybe you could simply just order what you feel like!
How can this be enabled?
Change how we Choose
(Menu/Options vs. True Customisation)
The most common way restaurants give us choice is by giving us more options on a menu. Have you ever been to a restaurant where there are so many options that it becomes overwhelming and you don’t know what to choose/can’t choose/end up not ordering enough/ordering too much? Yeah, us too. Research has shown that by giving us too many choices our overall experience is impacted negatively - it all becomes a bit too stressful. But, it turns out, we want to choose what is on our plate, not just which plate ends up in front of us. Empowering us with clear options and information, and the time to make the choice might just go a long way!
Believe it or not, we’ve been customising for a while now. The best example is when we’re ordering pizza – we can choose the base, sauce, toppings and have a hot, fresh pizza delivered to us, just how we like it. The next generation of digital ordering is also enabling us to order multiple dishes from multiple cuisines/restaurants and have it delivered to us at home - it’s not so much the customisation of the dish itself, but more so the choice of different foods you can get.
So, then what’s next?
We’re just starting to see restaurant assisting technology sitting with us at our tables – we can view and order from the menu and pay for meals from our phone from inside the restaurant – check out one of the leaders of this new wave of interaction and our good friends: Tayble at www.tayble.co
But, what if technology could empower us to customise our in-restaurant food experience? Book, order and curate our food and beverages, pay and even share our experience with others that aren’t with us, all from our phones. Helping us focus on enjoying our time with others and our food too.
Now that’s taking tech and food to another level - like secret agent expert rappel level, level ;D
Admittedly, it’s not a particularly sexy or exciting topic (unless of course, you start singing the title of this post to the tune of the aptly named, Salt’n’Pepa classic 90's tune, Let’s talk about sex, but I digress!), but it’s an important topic we HAVE talk about. Collectively, we waste approximately 4,000,000 tonnes of food each year in Australia. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “That’s a really big number and how can I possibly know what that looks like in an average year for me?” So, let’s break it down real quick – by averaging that number out across the population it becomes equivalent to throwing out 1 in every 5 bags of groceries you purchase every week or ordering 3 plates of food even though you’re only going to eat one every-time you eat out, and that’s just not cool.
What IS cool, is that you don’t have to do much to make a big difference and we’ve got some handy tips below to help you help reduce food waste and waste associated with the production and purchase of food.
#1 Plan out your weekly meals and create recipes/dishes with common, in season ingredients before your grocery shop for the week.
#2 Take reusable bags with you when you go grocery shopping. Keep them in your car or hang them somewhere visible at home so you always have them on hand or don’t forget them on your way out.
#3 Buy the “ugly” produce – it’s cheaper, tastes the same and helps to break down the idea that all fruits and vegetables should fit certain aesthetics parameters to make it onto the supermarket shelf!
#4 Some fruit and veg are best stored at room temperature, some in a cool, dark place and some in the refrigerator. Storing fruit and veg correctly means fresher, longer lasting produce. Check out this handy list for information.
#5 Embrace the over-ripe fruit and veg! Whether it’s making a killer guac with some avocados, or cooking up some apples low and slow for a tasty yoghurt or porridge topping (or to freeze for smoothies!), you can always find creative and simple solutions for using up those extra fruits and veg! Our favourite is whipping up a moreish banana bread that keeps great in the fridge for a week and is the perfect snack to have in the freezer for the kid’s lunch boxes or when friends pop over for tea! Check out our go-to healthy banana bread recipe by The Healthy Chef here
#6 Love your takeaway coffee, juice, smoothie? Ditch the single-use cup and buy a reusable cup. Keep it with you or keep it at work and take it with you when you buy your regular takeaway beverage of choice, it’s a great way to reduce plastic waste, and some cafés and restaurants will even give you a discount if you use your own cup!
We love these;
#7 Eating out? Try to order smaller portions or ask the wait staff for advice about portion size, sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, particularly when we eat somewhere we’ve never been before and by ordering consciously, the environment and your wallet will thank you!
#8 Try tapas style restaurants or options and share meals when you eat out.
#9 Ask if you can take left-overs home – there’s NO shame in getting left-overs to go from a restaurant and eating them for lunch the next day!
#10 Choose to eat at and support waste conscious restaurants – check out some recommendations for Sydney here and Melbourne here. Our good friends at Ywaste have just launched a new app (available on iTunes and Android devices) that helps food outlets at a retail level sell unsold food to you at discounted prices that otherwise would normally end up as waste – check them out
#11 Support Ufoodi ;D - Crowdfunding Campaign launching on Pozible soon! Book and order what you want, when and where you want to eat and help reduce food waste. Share your personally curated experience with friends’ family and the community through the Ufoodi Platform!
Give a few tips a try and know that you’re doing a good thing now and a great thing for the future! Plus, if you have any other tips to try or you want to share the love for a business that we should all be made aware of that is making a positive contribution to waste production - let us know! Together we’ve created a problem, and together we can fix it!
Asana by Pete Evans is located at the Capri hotel by Fraser in the Brisbane CBD.
The fit out is underwhelming with slight touches of style especially around the bar area. The open kitchen in full view is always a winner as I find it very interesting to watch professionals at work.
We ordered a few cocktails and my whisky sour reminded me of the one made at the old hugo's in the cross. I believe Pete has trained his staff well how to make a perfect sour from his previous experience.
We ordered the gnocchi and curry dishes to share. All food is gluten free and paleo which was my first experience with this food style.
The mains were outstanding, cooked perfectly and absolutely delicious. It was nice to eat a pasta dish and not have that heavy full feeling afterwards.
We didn't order dessert, however as it was my wife birthday they brought us a sample platter of little pastries with a happy b day note written in chocolate.
What the general environment/atmosphere lacked the food well made up for it and I would defiantly go back should the occasion arise.
Brooklyn Depot Burgers & Brew located at 65 Holt street Surry Hills is the third restaurant to open for the group.
The brains behind this slick operation are the guys who brought us crust pizza so you know its going to be impressive.
The look and feel is a bit grungy which suits the area as well as a difficult space to make work. With booth seating, neon signage and red brick walls you feel like you are sitting in a burger joint in NYC.
We ordered the Brooklyn classic burger, mac 'n' cheese and chicken lollypops with a side of fries. To drink we had a beer, wine and 2 of their delicious milkshakes.
All food arrived within an appropriate wait time, however the restaurant was only a third full.
I will go on record to say that the burgers are 1 of if not the best i have had during this burger revolution Sydney is currently experiencing. What i liked the most was that i got a decent size, delicious burger and it cost me only $10..
I am sure you will see these restaurants now start to pop up everywhere but in the meantime if you are in Surry Hills and want a great burger at a great price then Brooklyn Depot is the place..
Tigerbakers Darlinghurst located at 292 Victoria street is an institution on Vic street and still delivers when it comes to ambiance, menu and service.
This comfortable cafe has an evolved menu offering a vast selection of unique dishes at competitive prices.
The platting is very well done and speed of service within an appropriate wait time. We kicked off with a few Bloody Mary's that had just the right kick of spice.
If you have not been to tigerbakers or its been awhile since your last visit I highly recommend their breakfast menu.
The venue is open for lunch and dinner as well as is a great casual environment for a few beers after work.
the LITTLE KITCHEN located at 278 Arden street Coogee is a popular restaurant amongst locals who enjoy high quality ingredients a changing lunch/dinner menu all set in a cozy yet comfortable space.
The restaurant is open for breakfast / lunch and dinner and is fully licensed.
The head chef/owner Neil earned his stripes working under some of the UK & Australia's best chefs.
the LITTLE KITCHENS unique selling point is providing the freshest ingredients cooked well at an affordable price point that sees locals coming back time and time again.
Neil also strongly believes in giving back and currently has a promotion running with OZ HARVEST that with the purchase of any soup a donation gets placed #soupforthesoul.
We sampled 3 of their dishes being a steak sandwich(pictured below), soup of the day (potato and leak) and cooked tuna salad.
We returned our plates completely licked clean that they could have been used for the next lucky diners. The coffee was great and general presentation of both the food and ambience was right on brand.
If you are looking for a great meal at an affordable price this weekend book at the LITTLE KITCHEN as you will not be disappointed.
Ufoodi thanks Neil for kindly accommodating us and wish him continued success.
Rating: 4/5 stars