Chef Hayley North joined our chef’s cooperative this past July and serves up delicious and creative vegan and raw in our cafe on Friday evenings from 7:00-9:30pm. Along with raw chef Matteo Morozzo she also puts on special raw food dinners a couple times per month on Tuesday evenings. This interview with Hayley is the second installment in our chef’s cooperative profiles series.
1. Where are you from? What brought you to Rome?
I’m from the UK and have lived quite a nomadic life so far. I came to Rome for love after 5 years of traveling the world as a specialist yoga retreat chef.
2. How did you hear about The Beehive and what made you decide to become a part of the chef’s cooperative?
I was put in contact with Steve and Linda at The Beehive through a mutual contact who runs a retreat centre just outside of Rome. She knew I was looking for ways to bring my work to Rome and travel less and thought The Beehive would suit my personality and the type of food I make. When I heard about what was happening there and how they wanted to expand on the chef’s co-operative idea I wanted to be a part of it straight away.
3. Can you describe the kinds of food you prepare on your evenings at The Beehive?
I call my nights The Holistic Kitchen, which is a name I have been using for many years now to sum up what I do. The food varies in terms of dishes and flavours, but it is the principles, methods, philosophy, and ethos that sum up what really happens in my kitchen.
The Holistic Kitchen is my way of making a stand against the manufactured, processed and convenience food industry, and it is as much about education and increasing awareness as the food itself. This means that all food is sourced from independent, local or artisan producers, it is 100% organic or grown without the use of any pesticides or chemicals. I never use supermarkets and go out of my way to find the most ethical choice possible.
There are NO refined products used at all, and things like salts, oils and sweeteners are chosen carefully. The food celebrates ancient and traditional preparation methods and draws inspiration from the worlds of Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, Natural Nutrition, Raw/Living Foods and Macrobiotics, and is suitable for people with all kinds of allergies and intolerances.
My food is deeply influenced by my travels and my studies in yoga and nutrition related subjects. I gain inspiration from so many cultures, so from week to week you can expect a varied alchemy of flavours and dishes from around the world.
4. Are you vegetarian or vegan? If you are, what were your motivations to become vegetarian or vegan? If not, do you find it challenging to create a vegetarian or vegan menu?
I am not personally 100% veggie or vegan, but predominantly so. I rarely eat meat or fish, but I still feel a nutritional benefit from some animal products from time to time. I do not believe that to be healthy means to live on only a plant based diet, I feel this is not right for everybody. However, I do believe that if we choose to eat animal products we must be responsible for how much we consume and make ourselves fully aware of where it comes from and how it is produced and know why we are eating it.
I cook mainly vegan or vegetarian in my work and day to day life, for most people it is a step out of the day to day box and shows how rich and varied the cooking can be. I don’t find it challenging at all to create veggie or vegan menus. In fact there are endless creative and delicious ways to prepare veg, nuts, seeds, grains and legumes.
5. Where are your favorite places to eat in Rome?
I haven’t really found many places that prepare food in this way in Rome to be honest. I really love Bibliothè and have had a lovely vegan meal at il Margutta RistorArte although it was very expensive. I also like the bistro at Villa Pamphili and Felice in Testaccio. I also was quite impressed with Grandma in Quadraro which had a great vibe.
Other than that I rarely eat out as I much prefer to make my own food. After 25 years in the catering industry I know how rare it is to find a good restaurant and to find food prepared by people who actually care about what they are doing!
You will find Hayley and her Holistic Kitchen every Friday evening in our cafe and special 100% raw food dinners on occasional Tuesdays – the raw food events are by reservation only and are posted on our Facebook page.
Dinner is served from 7:00-9:30pm and the cost is €8 for a mixed plate and €10 with dessert. Wine & beer are sold at €2/glass. Menus are posted on the same day on our Facebook page as well as any notifications if there is a cancellation of dinner that evening as has sometimes happened because of illness or time away so it’s always a good idea to check there before heading over. Reservations aren’t necessary, but do note that only a finite amount of food is prepared so it’s best to come earlier than later – we also have to be strict about wrapping things up early in order not to be disruptive to our room guests.