Healthy and clean eating is so important to me. I’ve been a vegetarian (almost vegan… the only thing I have yet to forego completely is cheese!) for over thirteen years now and I can honestly say that it’s had such a positive impact on my life. Additionally, making sure I’m eating a not processed and clean diet, especially now that I’m more active than ever, has been key to my training success.
I’m always on the lookout for healthy vegetarian and vegan places to eat at in the city and am thrilled that Kupfert & Kim recently opened up a brand new location right in downtown. Their food is not only beautiful to look at but also nutritional and healthy. I had the chance to sit down with Mark Kupfert, one of the co-owners of Kupfert & Kim last week, who told me a little more about their mission and what they offer:
What inspired you to open up this place?
It’s a few things. One of them was that we ate this way and we found that it was difficult to find places that were doing it in a quick and dynamic way.
There’s also the backward story that my partner and I were actually in a band together in Montreal in the mid 2000s. We did some tours across the States and the healthiest thing you could eat on the road was Subway, which was full of processed stuff. We had this idea but we separated for a while and then he came back here to work as a lawyer in Toronto and he told me that he thought the idea we had would work in Toronto. So, I came to Toronto to visit and we decided to give it a shot. It was the perfect moment in our lives. We gave it a shot, the first one opened in the PATH and we were surprised by how much crossover there was. It wasn’t just appealing to the more progressive aggressive healthy, it was food that wasn’t just for the vegan demographic but for everyone because the world needs it.
That’s the other thing about it is, it was a bit of an environmental mission. We cannot feed the planet sustainably using animal protein.
What was your initial goal?
We wanted something that wasn’t so hippy granola, we wanted something that was appealing to people that are scared of this food. The huge thing was to get people from across the board. We were looking for something that was elegant but fun, some kind of black and white, wood, stone and steal. It’s fun yet contemporary, a little bit graphic and hip.
What can people find on the menu?
A lot of it was inspired by the food that I had at AUX Vivres in Montreal, they had some great grain bowls and salads. In the beginning when we opened, we just had four dishes, four bowls. We went with a rainbow type bowl, then the Oaxaca bowl, which is one of our most popular dishes, which is an elevated burrito bowl. The idea was that it would be more accessible then tempeh. Black beans are something that people already understand, Chipotle made it happen, so let’s just add organic kale, hemp seeds, organic tortilla chips and daikon to make it a bit more interesting. We also had one more Asian inspired bowl and one super salad. It was just about trying to create variety but also to keep it simple, heavy colors, super fresh and not try to make vegan food that’s not trying to be vegan food. Let’s appreciate the food for what it is.
How has Toronto received Kupfert & Kim?
We were blown away. We thought that when the first place opened up that we’d do ok but that it’d still be very niche but we were impressed by how quickly people were ready for this. I think people like FRESH, made the groundwork in Toronto and we appreciate it. We also welcome other places to open up because we think humans shouldn’t be eating meat three times a day. There just aren’t that many options out there, the market is still throwing conspicuous consumption of meat all the time. Yes, there are better practices for ethically raising meat but at the end of the day, you’re still eating animals and those practices are still extremely energy intensive. It’s just about there being more options and this becoming the norm.
K&K Waffle & Ice Cream
Mark’s recommendation for a good post-workout boost:
Add sprouted rice protein in a smoothie after a workout, it’s an excellent form of protein, it can go in any smoothie or any smoothie bowl.
To find out more about Kupfert & Kim, go here. Check out their brand new location at Richmond & Spadina in Toronto.