Cafe born of healthy interest


Promoting healthy eating is the idea behind Naturalley, a new organic cafe in Dunedin.
Co-owner Lucas Deschamps came to New Zealand from Brazil in 2006 for a holiday and to check out the University of Otago.
He liked what he saw and completed a psychology degree, eventually becoming an English for speakers of other languages (Esol) teacher.
After travelling around Southeast Asia for a few years, Mr Deschamps came back to Dunedin in 2013 and met his business partner, Nathaniel Wilson, through mutual friends.
Their original plan was to start an organic farm, but there was not enough money to buy land, so they contemplated getting a food cart instead.
They looked at the space in Moray Pl in December last year and signed the lease that same day.
Without a commercial kitchen, they were only able to sell salads and sandwiches.
In May this year, they closed the cafe, built a commercial kitchen and renovated the space.
They also hired head chef Hagar Ozri, a well-known Dunedin chef who prepared a menu of affordable organic vegan and vegetarian food.
Mr Deschamps said the cafe sourced as much organic, locally grown produce as possible and all of the coffee and chocolate used were not only organic but fair trade as well.
Mr Deschamps became interested in organic, sustainable foods several years ago after watching a documentary about what ‘‘organic’’ really meant, but he had always been interested in healthy eating.
Getting married last year to a lifelong vegetarian and becoming a father had made him even more passionate about providing affordable organic food to the people of Dunedin, Mr Deschamps said.
More and more people were interested in organic food and not just the younger generation, he said.
‘‘Middle-aged people are actively looking for healthier options,’’ he said.
Mr Deschamps believed ‘‘organics are a pillar for good health’’.
‘‘We are not interested in profits, we are more interested in people feeling full from good food.’’