Earlier this year, in February 2020, while joining the Brunch Club in Lausanne organized by Victoria Sardain I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Lara and tasting her healthy, delicious brunch spread. Lara is a very sweet person who runs a sustainable, seasonal and healthy catering service based in Lausanne. It’s truly liberating and encouraging to discover that healthy, vegetarian meals are becoming more and more the norm and what the majority of people are looking for.
While chatting with Lara online a few weeks later -we were planning to have a coffee in Lausanne but due to the COVID19 pandemic we decided to drink our coffee online- I learned more about her catering service, her cooking philosophy, the healthy brunches she plans to organize and also some exciting news about an eco-lodge they are working on creating along with her boyfriend in Portugal.
Keep reading for more insights into Lara’s life, her catering and brunch offerings, some of her favourite places in Lausanne and more inspiration:
Would you suggest a song to hear while reading your interview?
I love listening to music and singing while I cook and this is one of my all-time favourite artists to listen to.
How would you introduce yourself in a paragraph?
I am a Dutch, English and Swiss girl, born and raised in Switzerland and currently living in Lausanne with a passion for nutrition, sustainability and hospitality.
Healthy food, cooking & sustainability
When/why did you start being interested in healthy eating/cooking?
Cooking has been part of my life since I was very young; it started with both my parents who are both great chefs so we were lucky to grow up eating delicious home-cooked meals every night. My parents wanted us to learn how to cook quite early so, for as long as I can remember, each week we would have one day where we would have to cook for the whole family. This definitely helped when I moved to Lausanne for university and needed to cook for myself. It was then at university that my cooking changed to be healthier, veggie, vegan and sustainable.
Could you tell us more about “Lara’s brunch” and the services you offer?
Lara’s Brunch is a way for me of putting my passion into one concept; nutrition, sustainability and hospitality. I cater to all sorts of public or private events such as weddings, birthdays and yoga brunch events.
My brunches are completely homemade and I try my best to follow the seasons and buy my ingredients from local businesses. For example, all the fresh products I use are ordered on FARMY and are all Swiss products in season.
As for the spread, it is fully vegetarian with some vegan, gluten-free and lactose-free options. I like to use easy, few ingredients, straight forward recipes and I always try to improve them by making them more nutritious. For example, I will use whole grain flour over white, honey/maple syrup over sugar, or coconut oil over butter.
What is your cooking philosophy?
My cooking philosophy is to use only local and seasonal products bought through small local businesses, try to minimize waste in terms of packaging and food and always try and make any recipe a bit more nutritious and healthy.
What do you love most about your work?
For me, if you can find work where you do not see the time go by and you are excited about waking up in the morning to work, means that you are winning in life! This is exactly how I feel when cooking for events.
Do you have any tips to share with us when it comes to cooking/eating/living sustainably?
I believe there are two main things:
- Buy local and seasonal products – not only is this better for the planet but it is also better for you as the products you will buy will allow you to make the most of all nutritional benefits.
- Minimize waste – on one hand, try and minimize food waste by not buying too much and trying to use everything you have. A good example is if you have some fruit getting too ripe, cut them into pieces and freeze them, they will make a delicious addition to your smoothie. On the other hand, try and minimize general waste by buying as much as possible in bulk in your own, reusable containers.
Would you like to share with us your plans for your eco-lodge in Portugal? What will it involve?
With pleasure! My partner and I are planning on opening an ecolodge on the west coast of the Algarve that will encapsulate everything we stand for which is proper nutrition, sustainability and wellness. We still have a lot to do but hopefully, we will realize our dream through this project by 2022-2023. We will make sure to keep you posted on the progress!
Life in Lausanne, travel & inspiration
Could you share with us some of your favourite addresses in Lausanne when it comes to healthy food/lifestyle?
My all-time favourite food store in Lausanne is Chez Mamie. Chez Mamie is a bulk store with lots of choice and really good products. Other bulk stores that I like are Saveurs en Vrac and Bio C’Bon. Otherwise, for fresh products, I usually order everything online on Farmy.ch. They are an online store that works directly with local businesses and their products are always top-notch. And the best part is that they deliver your order straight to your doorstep which is fantastic! Last but not least, I am a big fan of cafes and there are quite a few in Lausanne; Ca Passe Crème, Sleepy Bear, Coffee Project, are just a couple that I really like.
What does travel mean to you?
Travel to me is the chance to discover different cultures and communities so as to broaden one’s horizons and stimulate open-mindedness. A big part of travelling for me is discovering the local cuisine.
What was your favourite travel experience so far and why?
I am extremely lucky to be well-travelled as I have a very international background. So far, my favourite places I have visited are Japan for their amazing food and culture, Cape Town for its stunning landscapes and the UK for its vibrant and innovative food scene.
The next trip you are currently planning is…
My next trip is hopefully to Mexico! I am a huge fan of Mexican cuisine so I am very excited to eat it for morning, lunch and dinner!
Which book and/or movie would you recommend reading/watching to get inspired? Do you have any favourite podcasts/Instagram accounts/YouTubers that you love to follow and be inspired?
I get a lot of my recipes from Instagram. One of my all-time favourite people to follow is Deliciously Ella. She has amazing recipes and also has an app with very interesting podcasts about health and nutrition. I think I own all of her cookbooks as well, they are great! Otherwise, I am a big fan of Dr Mark Hyman who is on Instagram and has also written many books including Food Fix which I can highly recommend. It is about food for medicine written by an actual doctor. Another book I can recommend in this topic is How Not To Die by Michael Greger. Lastly, another very inspiring account on Instagram is eatfoundation who work for a future where healthy and sustainable food is affordable, accessible and attractive to all. With the help of scientists and doctors, they have introduced the Planetary Health Diet which is an optimal diet for people and planet. I find this absolutely fascinating and, on their account, there is a link to their website where you can find more information as well as podcasts and recipes.
What makes you happy?
Being surrounded by loving family and friends is what makes me the happiest person in the world!
Thank you so much, Lara for the delicious brunches and for giving us a glimpse into your life and philosophy.
*Most of the photos for this article, including the feature image, have been kindly provided by Lara.
*Lara has recently launched the “Flow & Brunch” events in Lausanne consisting of a yoga flow followed by a delicious brunch and music. You can find more details on this Facebook page.
Connect with Lara on Instagram
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Are you visiting Lausanne soon and want to know which are the best places to eat and drink? Are you new to the city and eager to discover the top foodie addresses? Check out my ebook – The Curated Foodie Guide to Lausanne which consists of a 4-day foodie itinerary and an insider’s tips on local life.