We chat with Linda Gregory and Mark Sutcliffe who have recently opened a vegan cafe in Sudbury, just 5 minutes from the Essex border… so it may be closer than you think!
Linda – thanks for a lovely afternoon at Kind Cuisine – I would love to ask you a few questions…. So when did you have the idea to open your own vegan café?
It’s something I have wanted to set up for over 12 years. I have been vegan since 2003, and eating out was always challenging, plus first and foremost I wanted to show how varied a plant based diet can be.
However it wasn’t until I met my partner Mark in 2015 that I started to look seriously at the project again. He is a keen and excellent cook, and a restaurant or cafe was something he had also wanted to do for many years.
Super! I have never been to Sudbury before and I am impressed – well worth a weekend away… How have local people found having a vegan café?
It has been really well received.
Several people commented before we opened – “are there enough vegans in the area?” However the main reason we created Kind Cuisine was to raise awareness of a plant based diet, and showcase how satisfying and interesting a vegan diet can be.
I have also been so happy to meet so many vegans – it is definitely on the up!
Tell us about your vegan journey Linda – when and why vegan?
It was during the 1990’s that I started to really think about what I was eating, and the whole idea of eating a sentient being became really abhorrent to me.
I was working in London at the time, and I picked up a free magazine with an advert from Viva!, offering a book called “The L-Plate Vegetarian” to help people make the lifestyle change.
I could not believe what went on with factory farming – I knew it was bad but I never realised how awful it truly was. I became vegetarian.
It took me a few years to become fully vegan, although once I did I realised how terrible dairy farming is. I live a complete vegan lifestyle now, so I do not want to use any animal as a commodity in any way.
I know Viva! well and the booklet too Linda. It’s wonderful to hear of what inspired others to go veggie and vegan… so for those who are reading this and thinking about heading over what can people expect at Kind Cuisine?
A warm welcome, good, friendly service, and a varied choice of competitively priced vegan dishes.
What are some typical things on your menu?
We offer freshly made soup every day, and one or two specials of freshly made cuisine from around the world. Gardener’s Pie, Rissoto, Curry, Tagine, Mexican Platter, Vegan Haggis are some of the examples.
We also offer lighter options of burgers with potato rosti and seasonal slaw, toasted sandwiches, mushrooms and spinach with truffle oil on toast, hummous platter, maple rashers and sausage and onions in a choice of bread, home made cakes and pancakes and ice cream are also on the menu.
OK, now I am hungry Linda!! What about for readers who are thinking of making a day or weekend in Sudbury what is the are like?
Sudbury is a lovely rural town, which has had a market since the 12th century. It was the home of the artist Gainsborough, and his home is open to the public to visit. There are plenty of shops to wander around, a vegan B & B, a quaint theatre, beautiful country walks, and Long Melford and Lavenham are close by to visit,.
Tell us a little bit about a typical day for you?
My day begins with kitty duty! I have quite a few rescue cats as I set up an online cat charity a few years ago called Kitty Connections, which helps cats all over the word. I make sure the cats needs are met, before I check all my messages and emails and see if anything urgent needs attending to with rescue, the cafe, or related to my elected role as Town Counsellor. Then I get ready to go to the cafe.
Then I spend the next few hours meeting and greeting customers, having a chat with some, and ensuring that they understand what we are offering on the menu. The afternoon is generally spent making any calls, accounts and tidying and cleaning.
Then home for more kitty duty, and again – some time spent on social media, emails and messages. Sometimes in the evening I have a Town Council meeting. I was hoping to raise some awareness locally with animal and environmental issues, but it is not the easiest role.
What’s your all time favourite food/meal?
I think it has to be a nut and lentil roast with all the trimmings – roast potatoes and veg. Mark made a fabulous one over the Christmas period with a cranberry stuffing that sold out every day. It was superb!
Quite right you can not beat a super vegan roast!! Finally what would you like to share with the VeggieVision TV viewer?
Kind Cuisine was created as a labour of love for my animals to raise awareness that a cruelty free diet is just as varied as any other. My whole raison d’etre is animal activism. I set up a cat charity several years ago, help with rescue dogs when I can, and do what I can to further the vegan cause. This is not just a commercial enterprise, it is a passion to show how a vegan diet is the best for everyone.
Thanks Linda and Mark and see you again soon!
Please like Kind Cuisine on Facebook and pop along – well worth a weekend away!
And check out more photos on the VV TV FB page here!by