You’ve seen the Happy Pear around a lot lately, because they’ve launched a new cookbook filled with yummy, healthy recipes. We nabbed them for a few minutes to find out what makes them tick.
Until well into their twenties, Wicklow twins, David and Stephen Flynn, were typical meat-eating, pint-swilling, girl-chasing jocks. Until – entirely independently (since one was in Vancouver and the other in Central America) – they decided to try a vegetarian diet. It transformed their lives. They went from wanting to be millionaires by the time they were thirty to wanting to make the world a better place. And they developed a passion for good food and health that was both addictive and utterly infectious. The Happy Pear café, shop and brand have become iconic and the brothers and their food have an ever-growing legion of fans.
You guys have business backgrounds; did you always have a vision for the brand that The Happy Pear has grown into since you started the café and shop?
Not really! We just got started doing what we loved and followed it until now! It kind of started with a feeling more than a vision a feeling of wanting to work on building a healthier, happier world and it is such a fun journey!
Is the cookbook filled with recipes that regular customers will recognise from the café or are they brand new?
It is indeed. There are over 100 recipes, most of which feature in the cafe regularly and some different new ones to keep things fresh! We also wanted the book to be more than simply a recipe book so included sections on our philosophy, why we do what we do, on health and on community, we’re really delighted with the book! Penguin have been amazing to work with and we even had the same art director that does all Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks work on our book so its been a real honour to work with them.
What message do you want your cookbook to give to its readers?
Have fun and eat more veg!
You guys have families; how important is it to you to get the kids involved in the food side of family life? What does it mean to you?
Its vital and at the same time it just seems to be happening so naturally as food is such a central part of our lives. We both live right beside the shop so the kids cant help but grow up stuffing themselves with cherries when the are in season down on the farm or eating ripe mangoes for brekkie or eating pumpkin, sweet potato, having veggie juices daily and thinking milk is rice milk! It really is a joy and privilege to be able to be to feed our children such good food. Its something we’re very grateful for.
You say that your book has quite a bit about eating more veg. Give the veg-less amongst us three easy tips to eating more veg.
1. Try new and different veg, the veg kingdom is vast and full of such variety, whether you like green pumpkin, grilled aubergines, tender stem or purple broccoli, barbequed oyster mushrooms with sun-dried tomato pesto – experiment and get stuck in – cooking really can be fun and easy and veg is generally cheap and wholesome!
2. Making veggie juices is an easy we to get some earthy mineral dense veg power into you and often the kids love this – try juicing beet, carrot, cucumber, pak choi with some ginger, apple, pear and lime – it makes a lovely pink rocket fuel!
3. Give lentils a go – try cooking some dahls or stews using split red lentils or puy lentils with some coconut milk they make wonderful dishes full of rich earthy nourishing belly loving goodness!
Finally. What is in your fridge right now, and what will you be making for dinner?
RIght now in the fridge I have some veg for juicing tomorrow morning (kale, cucumber, pak choi, carrots, ginger) some coconut yogurt, some rice milk and some saurkraut,
For dinner i took the lazy option and got a take away Pad Thai and Japanese food bowl from The Happy Pear evening restaurant!
The Happy Pear: Recipes and Stories From The First Ten Years is published by Penguin Ireland and is available in good bookstores nationwide for €21