January 30, 2014
Living the Good Life,at The Good Life Eatery
We're in the kitchen with Shirin & Yasmine of new LDN cafe, The Good Life Eatery
And just when we thought we’d all had enough of kale salads, we happened to cross paths with a bowl from new-ish London restaurant The Good Life Eatery. Such a cute space (with even cuter staff) and super fresh food, we needed to know more so we set off to meet the owners, a Miss Shirin Kouros and a Miss Yasmine Larizadeh—originally from the US of A. SS lady Annette Lin stopped by their apartment to watch them whip up said salad, chat about the London restaurant biz, and just generally watch them finish each other’s sentences (cute!)…
Hey Shirin & Yasmine! Tell us how it all started…
Shirin: I’d just moved to London and my dad said, “Oh, I have this friend, his daughter’s got an idea for some sort of food kind of concept, why don’t you two meet?” I didn’t really take it too seriously but we were like, let’s just meet, put our ideas down on paper and work on the project for two weeks—just to see if we can even tolerate each other! We made it through the two weeks and then we said “OK, let’s go to LA and do some research.” That was the real test. Could we travel together?
Yasmine: She woke me up every morning at 6 a.m. just so she could go to Barry’s Bootcamp, which is basically my worst nightmare!
Shirin: And I was up going to yoga and going running. And she was like…
Yasmine: “Who are you? Leave me alone!” And then yeah so we kind of did an R&D trip in New York, Cali…
Shirin: …and then got back, said, “OK, we can do this.”
Yasmine: So we started designing our menu together…
Shirin: … and then put our business plan together!
Shirin, you went to culinary school. What did you study there?
Shirin: I studied classic French because I thought, healthy food is something that you can learn. Classic technique is something that you need to be taught properly. Just because you’re making healthy food doesn’t mean you don’t need to know how to properly fillet a fish, how to make a proper emulsion, and how to make sauces.
And Yas, your background’s in finance and property. Have you always been into food?
Yasmine: Oh my God, a huge foodie.
So not too far a step then. What happened next?
Yasmine: We thought, you know when you wake up and you’re hungover and you feel like s***? And all you want to do is have a really great salad, where would you go? So we realized there was a large gap in the market here in London.
The cafe is always packed, what advice would you give to other people wanting to do something similar?
Yasmine: Go work in a restaurant before you even think about starting your own cafe. One of our good friends set up a whole training program for us and I did front of house for four weeks. We’re also big on on local: Our butcher’s literally around the corner and we have our own greengrocer who only focuses on local produce, which is pretty cool. In the cafe, all the tables are made from reclaimed scaffolding and a few of the lights a friend gave to us as it was just lying around their house.
Shirin: I had worked in a restaurant before so I was like, Yas, your turn! But I would say, an idea is not a business. And if you have an idea, it’s always good to listen to people’s advice, but stick to your idea, don’t listen to what everyone says. I mean at the end of the day it’s your business, if you’ve researched it properly, then it’s your idea.
Enough shop-talk, tell us about this salad, it’s looks divine…
Shirin: Because kale is a hardy green, I always like to put a creamy sauce on it. This is a hazelnut maple dressing—it’s almost like a hazelnut mousse.
Yum. What are you loving in the kitchen at the moment?
Shirin: Coconut oil, but doesn’t everybody?
Yasmine: She likes sweet potato—she’s a sweet potato hoe. And I like seeds. Just sprinkling some on my food. They make things look pretty as well. It’s good for plating.
Name the tastes you can’t live without:
Yasimine: Shirin likes lemon, lime, coriander, that kind of thing…
Shirin: I prefer lime to lemon. She likes lemon, I like lime.
Opposites! That’s why you work well together.
Yasmine: The thing is, I like to keep it simple. That’s the good thing about our whole relationship.
Shirin: I’m not simple.
Yasmine: Shirin loves to over-complicate the s*** out of things and I like to think, If a boy came into our store, there is no way he’s gonna eat that salad. Maybe remove one or two goji berries and then we can come to a nice equilibrium!
We’re all about keepin’ things simple sexy here at Sous! What are your thoughts on the London food scene these days?
Yasmine: I think London has the best food of any city I’ve been to. The diversity, the quality, and the service is impeccable!
And finally, your mottos in life?
Yasmine: I like “Keep it real and keep it fresh.’ Or just “Living the good life.”
Photography by Meghan Giboin
Stay tuned for the recipe to Shirin and Yasmine’s Kale, Sweet Potato & Hazelnut Salad this afternoon!