Yui got in touch with us about her new project, The Raw Sisters, after our friends at the Hungry Workshop letterpress told her about The Eat Team. We sat down to chat with her at Nothern Soul cafe in Thornbury, Melbourne. Yui and her partner in crime Missy started the Raw Sisters vegan and vegetarian pop-up and catering duo with a bang–they served over 100 folks at their first gig which only whet their appetite to serve the Melbourne community. They’re brand new and the future looks bright ahead. Check out their beautiful video (see below) from the event at St. Kilda Organic Food Co-op and read on for Yui’s insights on the Raw Sisters project, eating raw, and life as an occupational therapist.
How did the Raw Sisters start?
We did a raw food demo at a vegan festival that my friend and her partner organised. We did raw sushi and raw avocado juice. Some guy came up to us and asked if we wanted to do a catering event. We had no idea that we wanted to do catering but thought it would be fun, so we said yes. He didn’t get back to us for ages and then a few weeks ago he said that the event is happening soon and asked if we were still interested. We quickly made up a business card and menu for our meeting with him. We bought everything and cooked for a whole day. We’d love to do more catering, or even cooking classes. We love food and want to share our passion.
What was the event that you did the catering for?
St Kilda Organic Food Co-op. Unfortunately they were closing and wanted to have a big ‘Thank you’ event for all of the people who had been involved. Everyone was invited so we had to cater for kids and adults. We did raw salads, hummus and beetroot dip, garlic bread, ‘mac and cheese’, home made wedges, roast veg, sweet potato soup, Moroccan stew, carrot pilaf, and for dessert we did chocolate brownie and caramel apple cake with banana ice cream.
Do you, and your business partner Missy, both lead a raw lifestyle?
Missy is maybe 80% raw. In winter I’m 50% raw. We’re both vegan and we try to eat organic.
Have you ever eaten meat?
I used to when I was in High School. I stopped after I turned 17 or so. I went on this school trip for a month and every meal was meat! After that I said to my parents that I didn’t want any more. These days my reasons have changed to environmental issues and how eating meat consumes a lot of energy and uses water.
Are there any meals that you used to eat that you now miss?
No. There’s a lot of fake meat products on the market now. I went to Gasometer at the weekend and had a chicken parma. Some of the products you can buy are really processed though, so I would rather eat beans, quinoa or grains.
Is Missy your actual Sister?
No. I met her through a mutual friend. She went to New Zealand for High School and then came over here for Uni. She’s a photographer. We got really close and started talking about food. As you know, food connects people.
How did you think of the name ‘Raw Sisters’?
At work we call all the girls ‘Sisters’ and thought that ‘Raw Sisters’ would be fitting.
What’s your job?
I work as a Community Mental Health Worker, I’m an Occupational Therapist. It’s a totally separate thing.
It’s not just about chopping and eating a salad, it’s about dehydrating it or making it a smoothie or thinking up new combinations.
How did you get in to raw foods?
I’ve always been into health and healthy foods. I found out about raw food through blogs and I’ve been eating raw since spring of last year. This will be my first winter.
Have you noticed a difference in your health?
Definitely! I’ve got so much more energy and feel really good inside. The general idea of raw food is that because you don’t cook it, the enzymes aren’t broken down so it’s in it’s most natural form. You get the most benefits from all of the vitamins that way. There’s different views on it, some people find it easier to digest, and some harder because it’s so raw. It depends on how you prepare it. It’s not just about chopping and eating a salad, it’s about dehydrating it or making it a smoothie or thinking up new combinations. Personally I get a lot out of eating raw food. I find it works best for me if I eat a portion of raw food and then cooked food as well.
What would you eat on an average day?
This might sound weird but I don’t have breakfast. For lunch I’ll make a green smoothie to start my digestive system going. If I’m working I’ll have a sandwich of sourdough bread with lots of raw food on top, maybe sliced pumpkin, beetroot, kale, avocado, with a bit of hemp seed butter. For dinner would be a salad, lentil or bean soup, or quinoa patties or something.
Is it hard to find restaurants that cater for your diet?
Whenever I go out I do my research. I think Melbourne is quite good with vegan food and places seem happy to take the cheese out, or whatever you ask.
What’s your favourite food to prepare or eat raw?
I really like my kale salad with a nutty dressing and for dessert I love raw cheesecake.
Are you hoping one day to have a cafe or a shop?
Yeah, a cafe would be amazing. Missy and her partner are going to move house soon and hopefully open a cafe.
Will this become a full-time thing then?
I’m passionate about my work so this is good as a side project for now.
Would you like to continue to do events?
Yeah! They’re really fun. The event that we did last time, we got to meet a lot of people and they had so many compliments. To see them making that connection with food, and talking to them about it, was great.
Have you converted anyone to the raw lifestyle?
I have a massive influence at work. I’m really passionate about organic eating as well so I tell all of the girls. Organic farming is so much better for the environment too. Through the events we have a little blurb about how it’s so much better for us.
Where do you get your ingredients from?
I get a box delivered from Ceres. They do a fair food co-op. It’s not that they grow everything there but get it from local farmers. Also, Naturally on High on High Street . We got most of our catering ingredients from there, they’re really good.
Did you have a foodie upbringing?
Not really. My Mum is such a ordinary cook. That’s maybe why I’m about experimenting and making new things. I don’t like to cook two of the same things twice. I love baking as well.
If someone was wanting to get involved in the raw food diet, what’s an easy recipe to start them off?
I think the juices and smoothies are a really good place to start. You just throw everything in; vegetables and green leaves. Just give it a try!
What’s the one thing you want to do before you die?
Travel. Build my own house. I watch a lot of Grand Designs and England and France seem open to the ‘eco’ style of living. Somewhere in Europe would be nice.
To get in touch with Yui or book The Raw Sisters, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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