Saturday, 31 January 2009

Profile: Leigh-on-Sea's My Kitchen is interviewed about their commitment to Fairtrade

Name: Stuart Hann - Owner
Name of business: My Kitchen, 80 Leigh Road, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, SS9 1BZ
Bookings: 01702 719222,
Opening times: Tuesday 10am – 6pm, Wednesday to Saturday 10am - 10pm, Sunday 10 – 4pm. Booking is always advisable.

Can you tell us a bit about your business?
We opened on the 11 October 2008 and are a fully licensed vegetarian restaurant. Where possible we source fresh local produce, organic and Fairtrade. We offer freshly cooked to order wholesome vegetarian food.

When did you start selling Fairtrade and what products do you sell?
We have been selling and serving Fairtrade products from the first day we opened. We serve Fairtrade Coffee, Tea and use Fairtrade Sugar and ingredients where possible. Our My Kitchen t-shirt uniforms are also made from Fairtrade Cotton.

Why is it important to you to sell Fairtrade products?
My Kitchen wants to have impact – not only with tremendous food and dining for our customers but also in the way we run our business. We try our best to make ethical decisions in our purchasing. We know that choosing Fairtrade products is one way of doing this as well as sourcing from local suppliers. We don’t want our profit to be at someone else’s loss.

How has your business changed as a result of selling Fairtrade?
This is something that we have always done and always will do. It may in some instances cost us a little more – but the effect it has for the Third World producers makes it so worth the extra cost. We also hope that these choices we make on behalf of our customers adds to the My Kitchen experience of good honest vegetarian food.

Have you seen an increase in the number of people buying Fairtrade?
We have been asked if our Coffee and Tea is Fairtrade and it is always pleasing to be able to report back in the positive. We certainly have noticed an increase in availability of Fairtrade ingredients, this must be due to people power demanding Fairtrade products and then voting with their wallets.

How did you get involved and what standards/goals to you have to meet to be able to sell Fairtrade?
When shopping for ingredients for the My Kitchen menu we actively search out the Fairtrade Mark. We were excited to hear about the campaign to make Leigh on Sea and now Southend official Fairtrade Towns and will continue to support at special events and promotion within the our restaurant wherever possible.

What other ways do you support Fairtrade – fundraising etc?
We will place the official Fairtrade ‘Open/Close’ door swinger in our window. And promote Fairtrade on our menu and through information available in the restaurant.

Have you had a lot of support from the local community/council etc?
It is good to see the website is updated with wholesale suppliers of Fairtrade products. This proves really useful for sourcing Fairtrade items at the right price and where certain ingredients are hard to find.
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