With the vegan craze on the rise we are making a point to check out all the real deals killing it with their food. Early in the year we stumbled across Mooshies, aesthetically this place was HIP HOP; the graff on the walls and beats in the background set that tone perfectly. THIS was OUR KINDA JAM…and even better it was Vegan burgers. A step away from the usual standard carby vegan burgers, Mooshies have managed to perfect a meat-free substitute of classic burger that do not compromise on taste. Who is the dream team behind this? Say HELLO to the lovely couple Nelly and John… We catch up with them to learn more about their journey!
Tell us a bit about the moment you realised you wanted to quit your jobs and enter the food business?
When Nelly and I met we were both employed, Nelly had been working as a Video Editor for over 10 years in the financial district and I was a jack of all trades with a focus on sales and marketing in renewables. Then as life does its thing, Nelly lost her job when the company she worked for had to close, then a couple of months later the project I was working for didn’t win the funding it needed to continue and I found myself out of a job. At that point we decided we needed to take a break from the rat race and really see the world for what it is and to discover our true destiny. The news painted a very negative picture of the world and we wanted to find out if this was real, so we decided to backpack around Central America and South East Asia for 8 months.
We decided before leaving London that when we came back we would try and open a Vegan café as Nelly always enjoyed cooking and I was a BIG fan and she would create random dishes that tasted amazing! And we wanted to do something that was ethical and made a positive change in the world however small.
During our travels as well as tasting a lot of delicious vegan food Nelly would spend some time creating amazing recipes from local produce and that’s how our first burgers were born. When we returned to London we took it to the streets and stood outside Boxpark handing out samples and asking for feedback. You can check out the video on youtube! After that we did some market stalls, a pop up at Strongrooms, a supper club and a Vegan Life Live festival in Brighton before we began looking for a more permanent spot around East London.
What was the toughest part of your journey?
Every single step was tough….it still is lol. Tough physically, emotionally and financially. We had no backers. We were not rich. We put our savings on the line because we had a dream and believed in our vision. Everything that could go wrong went wrong and more. Everyone wanted money and we hand’t even begun trading. We questioned our decisions every time but we learnt slowly that when you want to do something for a better world, to change an old system things will test your strength, your commitment and your faith.
When did you become vegan, and what was it that urged you to give up meat and dairy?
When I met Nelly she was already a Vegetarian. I was a meat eater but my father had been Vegan for more than 10 years, so it was an easy transition for me. I knew the benefits because I saw it in my father. Nelly felt great after cutting out animal products from her diet so I began to cut my intake immediately and saw the benefits very quickly. Being Vegan for us was a great step spiritually, we didn’t want to ingest more karma, emotionally and mentally as we didn’t want to ingest the by-product of murder and environmentally as we didn’t want to continue to destroy mother earth when she gives us enough already.
What are the positives about being vegan?
Our fitness is great, it was tested with the opening of the shop and the first 6–10 months we were doing 14 hours a day 6 days a week but we felt strong. You definitely feel lighter, it adds a spring to your step and our meditations are much profound than before. You also feel that you are making a difference in the world and helping the voiceless.
Your restaurant Mooshies is fantastic for vegan burgers. Many have a perception that vegan food could never be “comfort” or “treat” food. What substitutes are your favourite to show that you don’t always have to compromise on taste?
Firstly, carbs are the most comforting type of food and you can find a lot of carbs in Mooshies for one. But also people seem to forget that meat on its own is tasteless and it’s the seasoning that makes it what it is. So if you add the same types of seasoning to vegetables such as mushrooms, aubergines, potatoes & beans you have something that tastes amazing and comforting without the added guilt to your conscience and the risk of high cholesterol and diabetes.
What advice can you give to any young people who want to start a business?
The reason we started Mooshies was in the hope that we could inspire young people to follow their dreams as we have done. Everything is possible. Don’t let anyone say otherwise even your parents, teachers or peers of any kind. Nelly and I grew up in council estates and are second generation refugees. Nelly’s Iranian and my parents are Colombian. Our parents came to this country for a better life but all we ended up doing was working for someone else in a modern day slavery. The only way to break free is to follow your dreams and change the world with your actions.
If we can do it then you can all do it. All you have to do is start. If you have an idea. Set a budget that you will commit to it and start it. London is a thriving city so there is always opportunity.
Take a visit and check out these good peoples and their DELICIOUS grub…