In 2003 my wife, Verity, and I treated ourselves to a 10 day cleanse at a health retreat. We had steam baths, massages, days of juice fasting, long walks, nutritional education, cooking classes, naturopathic consultations and most importantly 10 days of rest. We came back with a newfound vitality and zest for life. By implementing simple changes in the ensuing months such as healthy eating, drinking plenty of water and exercise, we just felt so good!
While we were at the health retreat we learned some great tips on how to live a healthier lifestyle including how to cook healthy food. By feeding our bodies quality nutrients our body works as it should and life is so great!
Coming back to Auckland we realised that most cafes and eating places served food that was not really good for you. Sure, muffins, pies, coffee, paninis and chips taste great, but soon afterwards you feel pretty lousy, not to mention the long term health issues that result.
I had a great career working for Sanitarium Health Food Company in Auckland for 10 years as a marketer of healthy breakfast cereals like Weet-Bix but had always had the dream of becoming a chef or owning a cafe, so in late 2004 I took a bold and risky move and decided to leave my great job to open a healthy cafe.
I quickly faced some hard realisations in researching successful food outlets. In order to be successful in hospitality it appeared that you needed to serve coffee, alcohol, soft drinks, sugary cakes, food full of white flour and be open long hours in the weekends. Against the advice of several people, I decided that I could not sleep at night serving people these kinds of food and beverages, so I continued on in search of a suitable location.
I purchased an existing cafe that was not going that well on Fort St, literally signed my life away with a long term lease and over the Christmas holidays of 2004 I spent 2 months renovating, painting, organising and setting up my new cafe.
Thinking I knew it all from my Sanitarium career, I had to quickly learn the smarts of hospitality. It took a very stressful 12 months of menu amending, roster changing, marketing and staff training. However, I stuck at it, and eventually managed to get our formula working right. We had queues out the door most lunchtimes which made me very happy to know that so many people desired to eat healthy. It was a very intense 12 months, but the biggest thing I learned from this was to keep trying new things and to stick at it.
In 2008 I decided to take another big risk. We signed another lease and moved into a shop about 1 km up town in Lorne St. The site was previously a jeweller’s shop. This was the perfect time to design a fresher cafe, and design it so it was operational and more efficient to run, with places for everything. We decided to cook the food for both shops in Fort St, and courier it up fresh every morning and afternoon. This formula worked very well.
I have a passion for sharing health principles with people. So many people are dragging themselves through life content with being overweight, having headaches, health issues and feeling tired all the time.
I put a lot of time into our weekly e-mails with health tips and recipes. I also do cooking demonstrations where I can share how simple it is to make healthy food. The Revive Cookbooks are another way to share the recipes we use at Revive Cafes so people can learn how to prepare healthy meals themselves.