INSIGHT: Co-founder of Mindful Chef, Myles Hopper
ENTREPRENEUR SERIES: MINDFUL CHEF
It's been an awesome month full of tasty recipes from our friends at Mindful Chef, so who better to speak to than Myles Hopper, co-founder of Mindful Chef: The Healthy Recipe Box Company. He gives us an insight into running the business and his top food tips!
How did you decide to start Mindful Chef and what is the best thing about it?
Mindful Chef was founded in 2015 by myself, Giles and Rob, on a mission to make healthy eating easy. The three of us grew up in Devon and wanted others to enjoy the delicious produce the West Country has to offer. We knew from personal experience how easy it is to compromise your diet due to working long hours and that many people simply don’t have the knowledge to easily cook healthy food that also tastes delicious. The best thing about Mindful Chef has to be interacting with customers and hearing how we have helped to change their eating habits and ultimately their lives - that’s why we set up the business in the first place!
What is your brand ethos?
We believe in using real, whole ingredients and cooking from scratch to make you feel your best. We want to make healthy eating as easy and enjoyable as possible, that’s why all of our recipes can be made in under 30 minutes.
What have been your best and worst moments while running the business?
The biggest struggle has to have been January 2016, as we had only been operating for 9 months at this point and we experienced a huge surge in orders, which took us by surprise. We weren’t set up well enough to fulfil these orders to the standards we expected of ourselves. We learned from this very quickly and put processes in place to ensure we could never be in this position again.
It’s hard to pinpoint our best moment, although this January we advertised on the tube and seeing it for the first time was quite surreal. Our upcoming book release on March 23rd is also really exciting, we can’t wait to share 70 of our favourite recipes! The book also discusses the nutritional benefits of each meal and talks about the ingredients in relation to energy levels, productivity, gut health and sleep amongst other things. You can order your copy of Mindful Chef: Eat Well, Live Better on Amazon and it will be available in many stores such as Waterstones, Oliver Bonas and many more!!
We love your recipes - how do you come up with so many exciting ideas?
All of our recipes are created in-house by Leith’s trained Chef Louisa Mitchell, who takes inspiration from all over the world. Each recipe takes less than 30 minutes and I personally make sure all of our meals are nutritionally balanced; of course they have to pass the team's taste tests as well!
To date we have over 270 recipes that we send out in our weekly recipe boxes to customers across the country. As we never use refined carbohydrates, we don’t rely on traditional ‘fillers’ such as white pasta, white rice or bread, meaning that Louisa gets very creative with vegetables from broccoli rice to courgetti and everything in between.
Which recipe is your favourite?
Very hard to say! I really love a good steak, so for me it would probably be our balsamic & mustard beef with squash mash. We’ve also got a new recipe on our menu this March, which was inspired by my travels around Bali last summer, so this is another favourite for me. Find the recipe for our our Balinese pork with kaffir lime brown rice here.
Your top restaurants in London?
I don’t tend to eat out too often. However, I recently ate at The Dairy in Clapham and love the fact that they pay so much attention to British seasonal produce. I also really like Megan’s in Fulham, it’s the perfect place for a celebration, as they do the most delicious sharing platters.
What would you have on your ‘cheat’ day?
To be honest I don’t really have a cheat day, although if I am in the mood for a treat the black bean brownies in our cookbook are one of my favourites!
Where’s your go-to workout place?
I worked in the health and fitness industry for a number of years and having played rugby professionally and worked as a PT, exercise is very important to me. Personally, I don’t think you can beat an outdoor workout. One of the great things about Mindful Chef is that we really encourage taking time in your day to workout, so we often head to the gym or the park for a team workout, or go and try one of the great studios around London such as UN1T, which has just opened up down the road from our office.
What are your Top 5 mindful tips?
In relation to eating my top mindful tips are...
1. Reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates and refined sugars (e.g. white pasta, white rice etc) and instead focus on filling your plates with nutrient dense carbohydrates such as sweet potato, brown rice and quinoa.
2. Increase your vegetable intake so that you are getting enough vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as well as increasing your fibre intake which helps to maintain healthy gut function.
3. Cook from scratch. Many people don’t find the time to cook from scratch and as a nation we definitely don’t cook as much as we used to. This is partly because food has become so readily available with many companies offering easy, quick, fast-food solutions. We highly encourage cooking from scratch, not only does it mean your meals will be packed with nutritious, whole foods (avoiding any nasty additives) but we think it’s a valuable life skill. It’s a great escape after a long day and provides the chance to interact with your partner, housemate or children.
4. Support British farmers by purchasing British produce. This is very important to us here at Mindful Chef, not only will you be eating high quality fresh produce but you’ll be reducing your food mileage at the same time, so it’s a win-win for the environment and the economy.
5. Practice mindful eating. Whilst this is a broad term we can’t emphasise enough how important it is to enjoy nourishing your body through tasty, healthy food! Slow it down, take time to chew your food properly and steer clear of distractions (like your TV and phone!).
The Mindful Chef Cookbook is out TODAY, so go get your copy!! And the upcoming Mindful Chef menu is available here, so book yours and get 25% off your first order using the code SP25 at checkout.