Elysia, what does it mean?
◇ In Greek mythology, Elysian fields means a blissful place, where Ancient Greeks went for a happy afterlife. ◇
The name refers to the second life of the delicious products we use to make breakfasts and canapes that would otherwise go to waste.
*Peck, Harry Thurston (1897). Harper's Dictionary of Classical Literature and Antiquities, Volume 1. New York: Harper. pp. 588, 589.
A food social business startup
Elysia is a social enterprise. We are committed to reduce food waste, give access to more people high quality artisan local food and create economic value for all our stakeholders (producers, employees, partners, clients) within a dynamic ethical food ecosystem.
Since we started in 2017, we saved more than 9 tonnes of artisan British food and served more than 29,000 people around London!
For more information about our operations and social impact, please contact us.
How it all started
The idea has been thought-out for quite some time but it is in 2016 that the adventure started.
Freshly arrived in London with the idea to sell high-quality breakfasts on-the-go for business people next to tube stations, I wished to create a transformative work environment for people with high barriers to employment. I was inspired by the american social entrepreneur, Joe Deloss, who founded Hot Chicken Takeover in Columbus (OH).
The next couple of months, I had the chance to meet with talented social entrepreneurs, charity directors and food specialists. They have helped me a lot to better understand the ecosystem in London and I discovered a whole new food world: the surplus. By talking with local producers, I learned that a small part of the production is sometimes wasted due to the size or shape of the product while the quality of the products remains unchanged. For instance, I met with Hedie - the founder of the delicious organic granola brand Husk & Honey. She explained to me that some batches may be a little too brown or an additional spoonful of honey compared to the regular one. Hedie would not sell it to the cafes she is working with and is then looking for a new home for her delicious handmade granola. It was then clear to me: I wanted to buy this delicious food and make sure everybody can afford it!
From marmalade made from "wonky fruits" to high quality British cheeses with a hole and tasty coffee beans roasted in London, we found out so many fabulous "naturally imperfect" food. We are working with local producers and growers who make by hand their food products and exclusively with natural ingredients (a list of the talented artisans is available here).
In 2017, Elysia was up and running! Breakfasts & canapes are handmade with a personal touch. All the products are carefully selected and delivered by foot or on our cargo bicycle across London. A few months later we have decided to move to event catering to scale up our operations. The adventure was just starting!
We are so humbled and grateful to be rewarded for our catering work with a sustainability focus. Elysia won a Green Apple Award for Environmental Best Practice 2018 and has been finalist for the Blue Patch Sustainable Business Award 2018 and Sustainable City Awards 2018, category Managing Resources. Thank you for your support!
How it works
We visit producers in London and in the countryside and decide to work altogether according to the taste, nutritive value, the quality of the ingredients, production/baking process and origin of the products.
We then handpick the products that would otherwise be discarded due to supply and demand imbalances or failed aesthetic standards.
We buy those products at cut price that allows the artisans to cover all the costs plus a margin. They gain an additional revenue and find a creative way to fight food waste.
Eventually, the customers can choose from a selection of delicious and natural products at a reasonable price. It is a delicious and sustainable way to afford artisan food - usually expensive due to the time and care needed to bring the best product to life.
The solution is aimed to be sustainable for everybody. Each time we deliver our breakfasts and canapes, there is an immediate economic and ecological impact. More information about our results here.
In the media!
Press, radio, web...
Since we started in 2017, we’ve had some amazing press. We’ve appeared in Pebble, Jeelied Eel, OnPurpose, Positive News, "Ici Londres", French Morning, the Council of Westminster, WeConnect, Toast Ale, Into_views The interview London. We also have been featured in the newsletter of the Hub Westminster, Tasty Misfits and Metaspeech!
Sue and Paul from the FoodTalk show invited us in the air to discuss rescued food on Channel Radio. Podcast is available here. We also had the chance to talk with Guy from the Food Rush and Kathy for her TV show CrazyDreamers.
Documentary: We spent one day with Ebi who runs The Karissma project. Ebi followed us at the Borough Market to meet with a few producers (pictures and interview available here). The journalist and photographer Chris King is documenting food waste on "Food is..." and interviewed us with Emily Roux, the talented London chef and mentor of Elysia.
Beyond the food
Sophie has a background in economics and has worked in startups in France, Senegal and the USA. She moved to London in summer 2016. Passionate about artisan food, she wanted to work with local producers and help them reduce food waste. Elysia was born early 2017 with the aim to help raise awareness about food sustainability.
Founder and Director
Welsh born chef Beth loves cooking with the best seasonal, local produce available and takes inspiration from travels around the world to create her dishes. After competing on MasterChef UK and finishing as a semi-finalist, she went to work at sustainable food start-up Farmdrop where she developed a passion for delicious, honest food that's good for the environment and the planet.
She loves creating beautiful dishes from leftovers and surplus ingredients.
Rose has been working for many years in hospitality businesses, working predominantly with local startups and entrepreneurs. Her passion is in food sustainability and healthy living.
Waste not, want not!
At Elysia, I am responsible for developing the business through new partnerships and events!
We have a fantastic team of chefs and bartenders working with us on events. We all share the same enthusiasm for excellent food and sustainability.
Vilma Luostarinen, Chef & Food experiences creator
Rose Fooks, Pastry Chef and Food stylist
Andy Young, Catering Lead
Sian Clarke, Catering event manager
Jaime Steers, Catering event manager
Flora Donovan, Catering event manager
Joanna Burgess, Catering Lead
Seila Amet, Bartender
Sebastien Adam, Bartender
We believe the business can only succeed with a global strategy which requires the highest standards of corporate behaviours towards our employees, consumers, suppliers, partners and the society. Those behaviours are described as follows:
High standard: We have high standards and our goal is to source the finest products we possibly can. We define fine by effectively evaluating the ingredients, taste, nutritive value, origin, baking process/development and producer values of all of the products we provide.
Happiness: We want to make our guests happy! Serving our food with a large smile, explaining the story of the ingredients bring people together, help the guests spend a great time and maybe learn a few things about food sustainability. This is not possible if our team is not fully committed and happy to work. It is very important for us to make sure our team and partners are fulfilled in their activity.
Audacity: We have the power to rethink things over. We aim to question established practices, learn from the opinions and experiences of others in many ways: through our commercial operations, our relationships,our brand, our advertising and in many other ways in which we engage with society. We want to provide facts, useful and effective solutions.
Integrity: We want to be genuine at the internal level as well as with customers, suppliers and partners. We conduct our operations with efficiency, transparency, honesty and with respect for the people and organisations our company impacts and we can do this by communicating according to these principles.
Simplicity: Simple is beautiful – we want to provide natural, simple solutions through the business and to make them accessible financially and effectively to everyone.
THE GREAT PARTNERS
We are not alone! We had the chance to meet with great people in London. Victor, the greatest daily support; Constance the super cool international sales specialist from Jimini's; Marika, the brilliant founder of the Breadwinners charity; Greg, the great business minded charity advisor; the very nice Eilis who offered me her constant support and my first official aperitif delivery; Emma from Connection Crew who loves breakfast and Twitter:-); Clemence and Rachel who gave me my first chance to believe in my project, the very nice Victoria for her support; Florian, the super Guerrila Gourmet; Hilary who gave me my first design advice ;); Sam, the talented designer who has been very patient and supportive; Floree always super supportive and enthousiastic about new products; Rob for his very encouraging call; Norman for sharing his great experience; the MakeSense community and Jeremy of Crisis Cafe, for a brilliant brainstorming session; Anusree, who can promote Elysia better than me :-); the really nice Chi who loves hummus; the super joyful and supportive Melina; Augustin & Adrien, my first bosses and super cool entrepreneurs for all the mistakes they gave me the opportunity to make ;-); and obviously, the great men and women who supply delicious products: Lucy, Hedie & Verity, Dominique, Miles, Jasmine and Christine, Hannah, Jill, Jackie, Bronwen and Srdja, Chris Monica and George...Thank you!