Student - June 7, 2012

'Showing that vegan food is not disgusting'

Under the name 'Eveline cooks', Eveline Delnooz (first year Animal Sciences) sells take-away meals from the kitchen in Dijkgraaf, where she lives. She has been doing this for two months and already has a number of regular customers.

After two months Eveline had about 20 regular customers.
A 'veggie take away'. What does that entail?
'Every Wednesday I cook a tasty, healthy vegetarian meal. People can sign up for it until 5 o'clock in the afternoon by email, on Facebook or on a list hanging downstairs in the foyer. Then they can pick up their meal for a modest price. I cook seasonal vegetables, which is cheaper and better for the environment. And I make my own bread. That way I can show people that vegan food is not disgusting, or any less tasty than 'normal' food.'
 
How did you get the idea?
'I like cooking and I don't mind what I cook. Italian, Indian, Greek, Mexican. Give me a recipe and I will make it. I like vegetarian food but vegan food is my favourite. In March I lost my part-time job in a supermarket and I was looking for something else. I think the nicest thing of all would be to cook in a vegetarian restaurant, but not being qualified I don't think I have much chance of doing that. During a dinner party at home my stepmother said, 'Why don't you cook yourself in your student flat and get people to pick it up?' And that is what I did.'
 
How do you get hold of your customers?
'To start with I organized a tasting session in the foyer at Dijkgraaf. Then I put up posters on the noticeboard, put flyers through letterboxes and posted messages on Facebook. My housemates helped me tremendously with publicity and even people who I didn't know offered advice. At the start, when it wasn't going so well yet, a certain Tim emailed me with all sorts of useful tips on how to attract more customers. I thought that was so nice! It gave me the courage to go on with it. There was also a time I had put an extra flyer advertising a veggie burger on the noticeboard but I forgot to put an arrow pointing to my poster. The next day someone had written 'You suck at promotion'.  They didn't mean it unkindly: they had written next to it that if I wanted more customers I mustn't forget to put the date, time, cost, location and how to sign up.'
 
And now? Long queues every night?
'I've got about 20 customers now, most of them students. I mainly get positive feedback from them. Some of them come nearly every week, so they seem to like my food. An Indian boy even asked me on Facebook when I was going to cook an Indian meal. He was determined to try it.'
 
Do you want to be a chef in a restaurant later?
'No, I don't think so. I really enjoy cooking but I would prefer to work in the area of animal welfare, cutting back on meat-eating and climate change. But for now I'll carry on with this.'

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