Founded in 2015 in Devon by Myles Hopper and Giles Humphries, Mindful Chef is the UK’s favourite recipe box company. Myles, who is a personal trainer and nutritionist, and Giles work with a team of professional chefs to design and create delicious healthy recipes and deliver the ingredients to a thousand households nationwide each week. As a part of my passion for food and mindful living, I managed to get up close with Myles Hopper about Mindful Eating and Creating a Mindful Kitchen.
Describe yourself in 5 words.
Athletic, energetic, kind, enthusiastic, trustworthy
What inspires you?
I’m good at…
I’m bad at…
The most inspirational person you have met?
Ryan Leier – I got to spend a weekend with him and he makes you want to be a better person and just enjoy life to the full.
What’s your favourite location?
What is your background?
I worked all over the world as a personal trainer and nutritional coach for the best part of 10 years before starting Mindful Chef with two old school friends.
What are the highlights of your career thus far?
Employing a team of 10 full-time staff and moving into our new, real offices rather than an apartment. Being rated the UK’s favourite recipe box company by customers against the bigger players. Also cooking with Victoria Pendleton at her home was a lot of fun.
What are your goals for the next 5 years?
Build Mindful Chef into a household name.
How did you get started with MindfulChef.com?
Myself, Giles and Rob were in Lympstone when a friend came into the dock in their fishing boat. They would text the village telling them about their catch that day. It was when we saw the line of people waiting to purchase fresh fish that we realised this is how food should be sourced. The idea of Mindful Chef was born.
How did the name MindfulChef.com come about?
We had some terrible names at first – ones like Paleo People, Good for you food… all sorts and ones which I think had we had used we wouldn’t be around today. We were brainstorming about what we wanted our brand/idea to represent and being Mindful played a huge part. Out of that, the name Mindful Chef was suggested – to his credit I think it was Rob.
How did you develop the concept for MindfulChef.com?
We saw the fresh fish on the dock, the rise of recipe boxes in the US and thought what an amazing opportunity to change the way people buy food. The one difference was we wanted to be different from everyone else, better than everyone else. From this, the idea of healthy eating and being Mindful of every process from the sourcing to the ingredients became integral to Mindful Chef.
Why is mindful farming so important to MindfulChef.com?
We think the system is broken and everyone’s getting a rough deal. The only people getting a good one is the supermarkets. We source from small, local independent British farms and as a result, we think it is fairer on the farmers themselves. From a customer point of view, we also know exactly where their food is coming from – traceability is hugely important to consumers these days.
What are your top 5 tips on Mindful Eating?
- Eat away from the TV and think about what you are actually doing/eating
- Cook for yourself. Not only will you learn an important life skill but it also offers the chance of escapism from everything else around you while you concentrate on cooking.
- Take your time. It can take up to 25 minutes for our brains to register that we are actually full so savour your meal and really try to enjoy what you are eating.
- Use meal time as an opportunity to connect. Speak to others and connect on a human level rather than always speaking through technology.
- Use your senses – it isn’t just the taste in our mouths that notice the flavours and textures. Actually, digestion starts when you see the food and you produce saliva. So use your sight and smell to enhance the experience.
What are your top 3 tips for creating a Mindful Kitchen?
- Have a complete overhaul. Use up anything you shouldn’t have and start from scratch only buying the necessities and ingredients that are good for you.
- Always keep a stocked herb and spices drawer/shelf. You’ll be amazed at how many times herbs and spices will save your life and transform a meal.
- Create calm in the chaos. A clean work surface and dining table will make the whole experience a whole lot nicer.
What is your best tip for those who want to learn to cook?
Invest in a good, sharp knife. It is so much easier to prep ingredients when you have the right tools.
What’s your favourite recipe/flavour combination?
Teriyaki, honey and ginger – check out our Teriyaki Salmon recipe it’s delicious (and my favourite)
What has been the most exciting collaboration you’ve worked on so far?
We’ve just been named as an official partner to the English Institute of Sport and are supporting British athletes ahead of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 which I am incredibly excited and proud of. To have our product supported by some of the finest athletes in the world and their nutritionists is a huge endorsement of Mindful Chef and its credentials.
What are you working on at the moment?
That would be telling wouldn’t it 🙂 there’s lots in the pipeline for Mindful Chef and we are exploring all avenues that will help turn us into the next household name.
What do you have to say to the next generation, particularly for those hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Create your own path and enjoy the journey. Hard work will always pay off in the end.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
Happiness is a choice
In a nutshell, your philosophy is…
Work hard, be nice, listen a lot, speak last and remember there’s always tomorrow