Sundried interview the founders of Mindful Chef

Sundried is an independent UK business that was founded by entrepreneur Daniel Puddick. We encourage the growth of small businesses and want to empower consumers to choose ethical companies rather than defaulting to multi-national corporations and faceless conglomerates.

We chat with the founders of Mindful Chef, a healthy recipe box delivery service, about growing their hugely successful business and balancing work with life. 

In a nutshell, what is the story of Mindful Chef? What motivated you to develop the idea?

Giles: We're a health-focused recipe box company set up by myself, Myles and Rob. Mindful Chef was born one summer's evening in 2014 when we were on a fishing boat off the beautiful Exe estuary bringing in the day's fresh catch to the local villagers. We thought to ourselves, how could we replicate this on a national scale, and have never looked back.

Myles: We're on a mission to make healthy eating easy and do so by delivering all the pre-measured ingredients and recipe cards you need to cook up nutritionally-balanced dinners in under 30 minutes. Since our launch in 2015, we've shipped over 10,000,000 ingredients from incredible small farms across the UK and are now voted the UK's #1 recipe box by thousands of customers on Trust Pilot.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when setting up this business?

Giles: We were confident with the concept but getting things off the ground logistically was pretty tough and we spent a lot of long weekends packing up the boxes and delivering them ourselves!

Mindful Chef certified B Corp ethical business

How do you manage a healthy work-life balance?

Giles: It is important to have 'me time'. So whilst I work hard during the day, for long hours, I make sure that for some evenings or weekends I have total switch off periods where the mind is allowed to rest and think about something other than work. This creates a far superior work ethic and output when you get back into it the next day.

Myles: In today's fast-paced world it can be pretty difficult to switch off but we try our best to promote a 'work hard, play hard' attitude. We encourage our team to take lunch breaks from cooking up lunches together to team workouts and even taking the office puppy Toby out for a walk.

What's been the most exciting part of developing Mindful Chef?

Giles: For me, it would probably have to be our initial crowdfunding campaign in 2017 when we raised  over £1 million in such a short space of time and gained backing from some incredible sports stars including Victoria Pendleton CBE, Sir Andy Murray, and Will Greenwood.

Myles: Another thing we are incredibly proud of is our work with the charity One Feeds Two - for every meal a customer buys, we donate a school meal to a child living in poverty. We've donated over 900,000 meals so far and are close to our goal of 1 million! This also contributed to becoming a certified B-corp in 2018, essentially using business as a force for good and striving for more than just profit - focusing on people and the planet.

Giles: Of course none of this would be possible without our amazing customers!

Mindful Chef ethical farming sustainability

What does the future hold for Mindful Chef?

Myles: Our focus for 2019 is to continue our mission to make healthy eating easy for as many people as possible and grow our Mindful community. We are working with some exciting names in the health and wellness industry including Olympians Jessica Ennis-Hill and Victoria Pendleton, "The Happy Place" super mum Fearne Cotton, nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert, as well as our extensive team of inspiring ambassadors. Watch this space!

Giles: Product-wise we have also just launched our new 15-minute meals, to make healthy eating easy even on the busiest of evenings and have an exciting menu collaboration in March. There's plenty more to come later in the year.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Myles: Set up a support network. I was very fortunate to have two other brilliant, smart friends to work with. A lot of entrepreneurs start out on their own and it can be a very lonely place to find yourself. If you don't have co-founders to lean on think about getting yourself a mentor. Someone with experience that you can speak to and learn from - it can be really helpful.

Giles: Focus on delivering something that people need. Something people really need. Test it and launch an MVP quickly to ascertain whether there is appetite there in the real world. Then pour your heart and soul into it. The worst case is you learn heaps and go back to the day job a richer person in terms of skills and experience gained.

What's your favourite meal on the Mindful Chef menu?

Myles: Teryaki salmon with crispy kale
Giles: Thai pork meatballs and courgetti soup

Quickfire Questions

(Myles answers first, then Giles) 

  1. Coffee or tea? Tea, Coffee
  2. Summer or winter? Summer, Summer
  3. Gym or outdoors? Outdoors, Outdoors
  4. Weights or cardio? Smart weight training can double as cardio, Weights
  5. Stay in or dine out? Dine in with Mindful Chef :) Dine in