Firstly, lets start by asking: What on Earth is Earth Hour?
Earth Hour is a worldwide unifying action to demonstrate our respect to the planet. It happens once a year in March on a set date and time where everyone taking part turns off all their lights and electricity. Earth Hour started in Singapore and has now grown to incorporate 172 countries! I have only been aware of it since last year and at the time I decided to take part at home but it somehow fell flat when I realised I had subconsciously charged everything prior to kick off (missing the point a tad, Annie). Fast forward to this year and I knew I wanted to approach it differently and really get involved with something bigger to feel the full impact of Earth Hour. This is where Deliciously Ella stepped in. For anyone not familiar with her, Ella Mills as she is known by friends and family, is an award winning cookery author and entrepreneur. She writes the popular blog, deliciouslyella.com, and is a champion of eating well. Her first book came out in January 2015 and has been the best selling debut cookbook ever in the UK and a NY Times best seller. She has since released a further two best selling books, created a number one app, and with her husband, opened two deli’s in London, as well as launching a product line across the UK. Phew! Quite the list of achievements. When I saw she was hosting an Earth Hour Supper Club, I knew this would be the perfect event for me to celebrate Earth Hour with others and to be able to enjoy some truly delicious food in the process.
We were greeted with prosecco, then dined on a starter of Butterbean & Cauliflower Falafel with Smokey Aubergine Dip, followed by Thai Green Curry. Just as the lights went out for the beginning of Earth Hour, we were able to enjoy a truly delicious Chocolate Torte in candlelight.
We caught up Ella Mills about Earth Hour Supper Club and where her growing enterprise stand on food establishments getting green…
Ella, congratulations on two very successful delis. How are they both going for you?
They’re great – hard work and a real challenge at times, but I’ve so enjoyed the learning curve of it and nothing makes me happier than seeing people enjoy our food. It’s amazing to have a space in which people can come and see what our brand and our food is all about.
What is the idea behind the Mae Deli and where does the name originate?
It’s about creating a space from which we can share our food and show people how interesting, vibrant and delicious natural food can be. The name is a mix of mine and Matthew, my husband and business partner, names – so it’s Matthew and Ella.
What made you want to host a supper club for Earth hour?
We work with the Sustainable Restaurant Association and work as hard as we can to be good to the planet, from the suppliers we use to the way we deal with waste. So it was lovely to have an opportunity to share this belief at the Earth Hour Supper Club.
Where did you source the inspiration for the menu?
We wanted it to be simple, delicious and an interesting example of plant based food. The smokey aubergine dip is my favourite!
What actions do you take to function sustainably in the food industry?
We use compostable packaging in our delis, which we source from a company called Vegware – they’re really great. Our energy ball packaging is currently compostable too!
What ambitions do you have towards improving your eco friendly efforts?
We’re working on this all the time – trying to make ourselves as eco friendly as possible.
We think its fantastic that you launched your delis having a sustainable conscious at the forefront. What advice would you pass on to other establishments to aid them in taking steps towards trading more ‘green’?
I think making small changes makes a big difference, just working on using as much of the produce as possible – getting creative with this, so using broccoli stalks in soups and working with initiatives that turn any wastage (like the leaves of a cauliflower) into compost rather than landfill.
Whats next for Deliciously Ella?
We’ve got a new deli opening in our innovation kitchen in Herne Hill over Easter, which is really exciting, as well as a Deliciously Ella Garden Pop Up in Exchange Square by Liverpool St between April-June!
And lastly, a million dollar question… what is your ultimate treat food?
Indian food is my favourite, so a big curry with tons of spices – I love the rich flavour of the cooking and all the different colours.