by Leigh-Ann Worrell
Nestled in an unassumingly tranquil spot in St. Michael, delectable Healthy Eats await.
A gentle breeze buffers the sounds of public transport vehicles and service trucks associated with the busy Wildey area. Inside, soups like Tuscan White Bean with ham and tomato or grilled steak with roasted sweet potato wedges are prepared by the four-member staff for dine-in and delivery.
As you can easily tell, Healthy Eats is a little different from the other epicurean delights highlighted in Barbados TODAY for the last two weeks: meat is definitely on the menu.
“I know a few people with diabetes, high blood pressure and there are not a lot of healthy food options [for them]. If there are, they are incredibly expensive or its extreme like tofu and that kind of stuff. There is nothing wrong with tofu, but we did not think that was the extreme that we needed to go… We wanted to do everyday food that tastes good, just made in a smarter way…,” co-owner Stuart Kirton said as he gave the reason behind the enterprise.
“Healthy is a very personal goal. Everybody does not have the aim of losing weight or lowering cholesterol or their sodium intake… Not everything will be suitable for what you are doing…”
For those who believe in fate, it could be said that the stars were well aligned for the business.
Stuart and his business partner Cora Freer met 16 years ago when they were both working in the hotel industry. Stuart’s is trained in culinary arts, but front of house and management were Cora’s forte. A few years later, they met again, both employed in supervisory roles in the food and beverage section of another hotel.
At the time they made the choice to branch out on their own, Cora also had to change her eating habits and realised her options were limited.
“We were looking to get into our own business and we were looking into markets that worked. Cora suggested this was a void that needed filling … and we spent time building on our idea,” Stuart related. “It has blood, sweat and tears every day since.”
Healthy Eats began in September 2010 as a delivery-only lunch service before expanding into a space in the Wildey Business Complex one year ago. Stuart stated the reason for starting small was not only due to financial reasons, it was also to assure quality for customers.
“We wanted to make sure people were happy with what they were getting and go from there, instead of trying to open up a huge store… We wanted to start smart and grow as opposed to starting huge and God forbid creating a bad name for ourselves.”
But how does Healthy Eats keep its food both tasty and healthy?
By keeping it simple.
Cora and Stuart told Loving Me they hardly fried foods, preferring to boil, bake, broil and grill using fresh produce. The four-member team also used less sugar, salt and oil.
“Some people tend to use sugar and salt as an ingredient as opposed to a flavour enhancer,” Stuart stated. “A little goes a long way.”
Wednesday is cheat day at the St. Michael cafe, where they serve something a bit more indulgent. This week, it was baked lamb chop with green split pea rice and plantain.
But there is one thing you will never see on their menu, not even on Wednesday’s cheat sheet: “I vowed I would never do macaroni pie!” Stuart revealed with a laugh.
His business partner agreed. “It’s too much cheese! Too much everything!” firstname.lastname@example.org