The Good Life Eatery’s founding duo talk energy-boosting foods, how to kick bad eating habits and the secret to growing a successful business
Words Julia Krupska
Three years ago, American-Iranian entrepreneurs Yasmine Larizadeh and Shirin Kouros made it their mission to shake up London’s easy-dining scene. Inspired by their heritage, the duo launched all-day food service The Good Life Eatery. It sees energy-boosting breakfasts, shakes and guilt-free snacks cater for all. Below, the girls reveal the secret to a successful business, how to tackle bad eating habits and why you should ditch the caffeine, pronto.
How did you come up with the concept for The Good Life Eatery?
Shirin: A few years ago, London really lacked a place for fast and casual healthy eating. The options were either a full-blown restaurant or a salad in a plastic container. We wanted to fill the gap and make healthy food easy, cool and accessible.
Yasmine: I was working at a property fund in Berkeley Square and the only two options for lunch under £30 were Pret a Manger and Eat. This monotony was really difficult for me to understand, especially when we live in one of the most innovative and fast-paced cities in the world. So I decided to go out and do something about it!
Have you always been passionate about eating well?
S: Always. I feel so much better when I eat well. It’s more of a lifestyle than a conscious effort.
Y: I was luckily brought up in an environment where eating well was the norm, rather than it being labelled as ‘healthy.’ Fresh, homemade and wholesome foods were all I was exposed to growing up.
What are the biggest benefits you’ve noticed in yourselves as a result of healthy eating?
S: I’m really energetic and in a good mood. When I eat well and exercise I tend to exude positivity. The moment I feel heavy in my belly, I feel sluggish and grumpy!
Y: As previously touched on, I’ve been eating healthy my whole life. I see a lot of people who’ve grown up dieting, doing various weight-loss regimes, or dramatically changing their eating habits and generally struggling. I truly believe these excessive lifestyle changes result in a negative relationship with food. Something, I thank God everyday for, I’ve never had to deal with.
For those struggling to kick bad eating habits, what’s your advice?
S: Try to find foods that work for you and ways to make them taste good. Don’t feel pressured to eat something because it’s on trend, or you’ll give up and go back to your bad habits. For instance, if you hate seaweed, don’t eat it. There are plenty of other options to get the same nutrients!
Y: It depends what one considers as a ‘bad habit.’ A piece of cake here and there? Or a few buckets of KFC a day? The point I’m trying to make is, as long as you live your life in moderation, I don’t think there’s any reason to label what is good and what is bad. This rule I firmly believe relates to pretty much every aspect of life.
What would you say are the best foods to eat for boosting energy?
S: Healthy fats and complex carbohydrates such as salmon, trout, avocado or quinoa and other grains. Caffeine gives a false sense of energy and stimulation, so if you’re feeling sluggish try to avoid it.
Y: I’m going down the cliché route when I say a big bowl of crunchy, fresh greens. They’re light, tasty and full of energy-boosting properties.
Where do you take inspiration from when creating your menu?
S: I take inspiration from meals when I eat out, things I see on Instagram, meals my friends have and tell me about. Anywhere and everywhere, really.
Y: I like to explore different cooking cultures when it comes to inspiration behind our menus. I get weird obsessions with certain cuisine or particular components within that country’s cooking. Then I think about how we can make it more ‘Good Life.’ Flavour of the month is Korean J.
Is there a dish that’s more popular amongst your customers and why do you think that is?
S: The waffles are really popular because they’re made with really good ingredients – 100% Chestnut and Almond Flour. They taste insanely good, therefore people feel like they’ve splurged without feeling sluggish.
Y: The Goodness Bowl is also very popular as it’s a little bit of everything from our menu combined into one dish – for those of you who have issues with wanting to order everything, like myself!
What’s the secret to expanding your business in such a short amount of time?
S: A lot of hard work, believing in ourselves and in each other, and never giving up!
Y: TEAM, TEAM, TEAM. Without our team, we would be nothing.
If you had one piece of advice for those interested in setting up their own business, what would it be?
S: Make sure you go and work in the industry for a bit and really understand all aspects of running the business before you dive in headfirst.
Y: Ditto. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.
What are your hopes and plans for the future of Good Life?
S: If things go to plan, we hope every neighbourhood in London will have a Good Life as its neighbourhood local!
Y: As well as being the new ‘local,’ we want to raise awareness about how we can make our world and our everyday lives more sustainable for the future generations to come. Not just how we’re eating, but also in regards to supporting local communities, running businesses and constantly innovating to fulfil the needs of our ever-evolving planet.