Meet Tanya Maher, the creativity and expression behind Tanya’s Café in London. We catch up with Tanya to find out what inspired her to launch Tanya’s Café, where her passion for raw food begun and what 3 things she has to include in her daily menu.
Where did your passion for raw food and healthy nutrition begin?
Growing up in Russia and on my grandparents dacha (summer garden) is where I first learned to appreciate how much effort, time and care goes into growing vegetables. Also as I grew up in the far east side of Russia, we were exposed to Chinese medicine, healing teas and medicinal foods.
When I seriously damaged my pancreas after a near fatal car accident in my early teens, it was that upbringing that got me tapping into my intuition to choose what my body needed to eat in order to heal. Doctors were planning to remove my pancreas, but luckily I got to keep it, all thanks to raw vegetable juice. Then in my early 20›s I learned that raw food was an actual thing and it occurred to me that if it was able to heal, then it was able to prevent. I started to do everything in my power to help spread the word from there on.
How do you think food has changed you personally – in a physical mental and spiritual way?
Food isn’t everything to a healthy body and pure mind, but eating cleanly and consciously is the ultimate catalyst. It’s hard to feel happy and on top of the world when you’re suffering from any digestion pains, bad skin, inflammation, allergies, infections, candida and other discomforts in the body. I went through it all and raw food was my answer to healing. As my body cleared of disease, I had so much energy (and therefore more time) to do all the things I’ve always wanted, which made me pretty darn happy indeed.
Where did the idea of Tanya’s Cafe´come from?
The ‘café idea’ was the result of my clients demands for a place to go and enjoy everything I teach. One day I came across an image of a beautiful café interior, so I cut it out, reshuffled my vision board to fit it in, and on it I wrote ‘Chelsea or Parson’s Green’. I’ve been making vision boards for many years and have learned that to get something, you have to be specific, hence mentioning my dream location.
Just 2 weeks later, I was on a coaching call with a client who wanted to know of all the raw cafes in London and wondered why there were none in Chelsea. I had to laugh and shared my vision with him on the call. It turned out that he had a very similar vision and invited me to a Chelsea address for a chat. We collaborated and a few months later, opened the doors to London’s newest raw food restaurant and Europe’s first superfood cocktail bar, called Tanya’s.
I went through it all and raw food was my answer to healing. As my body cleared of disease, I had so much energy to do all the things I’ve always wanted.
What does ‘Your day on a plate’ look like?
Breakfast: Since none of my days are ever the same, they don’t ever begin with the same meal either. You can however find me
with raw chocolate and a cup of peppermint tea on most mornings. In the weekends it’s usually a huge, green, creamy and protein rich Smoothie of a plant-based variety.
Lunch: I usually have at least 3 varieties of raw dips in the fridge and either nori sheets or dehydrated burrito wraps in the pantry, so I stuff them with grated veggies and sauce for a quick bite. If I’m working from Tanya’s Chelsea, I’d usually go for my Thai Curry Kelp Noodles or an Adventure Salad Bowl with six scrumptious salads, herbed almond cheeze and dehydrated coconut jerky.
Dinner: Dinner is never the same in our house, because I like to shop for fresh ingredients every day and have a hungry husband. It’s usually half a plate of raw salads and half of something cooked, like quinoa lentil mix, Mexican bean stew, root veggie mash or gluten free pizzas.
There’s a huge explosion in healthy eating just now. What do you think has driven consumers to be so interested in healthy foods?
Sadly it’s probably due to the amount of disease in the world today. More and more people are discovering that it’s possible to prevent and heal via a healthy lifestyle.
Tell us about your ‘super food’ cocktails?
It was a pretty eye opening experience developing these, because the alcohol industry is so massive and has a very powerful voice. I was shocked to discover how many wines aren’t vegan, how many spirits aren’t gluten free and how many ‘pure’ alcohols are loaded with preservatives and sulphites.
At Tanya’s, not only do we choose the cleanest, ethically sourced alcohols, we also pair them with the most nutritious superfoods and our organic cold pressed juices, so if you’re going to enjoy a delicious tipple anyway, you may as well make it the healthiest one possible.
What’s next for you in 2016 and beyond?
We are relaunching our Tanya’s flagship restaurant in Chelsea and expanding the desserts part of our business. Watch this space, it’s going to be a delicious one!