Candid's Adam Zorgani sits down with former personal trainer Joel Belchem, co-founder of hip, healthy eatery The Skinny Kitchen.
The Skinny Kitchen was founded in 2014 by husband and wife team, Joel and Lois Belchem, inspired by their love of fitness, clean healthy food and of course, Ibiza.
The concept took off becoming popular amongst celebrities and health-conscious holiday goers visiting the island.
The duo are now bringing their brand of healthy, clean eating all the way from Ibiza to the UK with a second UK location recently opened in Islington and another slated for early this year in Ealing Broadway with more along the way.
The Skinny Kitchen caters to a variety of diets from vegetarians and vegans to gluten-free to body builders. Think gourmet smoothies and protein shakes in the morning, guilt-free superfood cocktails and organic beers after work, and good vibes in the evening with a whole lot of healthy food in-between.
We ask Joel how he balances running a demanding and growing restaurant brand while maintaining a fit, clean and healthy lifestyle.
Start from the beginning; how did the concept for The Skinny Kitchen come about?
I was a personal trainer and owned my own gym but I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit.
I realised I wanted a bit more from my business path, and because I saw the gap in the market for a healthy place for fitness-passionate individuals so, we packed up, sold the gym, moved to Ibiza and opened our first Skinny Kitchen there.
How do you encompass The Skinny Kitchen ethos of healthy, clean living?
I eat what we produce, and I live a very healthy lifestyle; it’s in our bones.
In a nutshell, we are proving that ‘healthy' can also be tasty and filling and that's where our research and menu development is key.
What is your favorite healthy food you can't live without?
Soy protein, which can be found in our vegan burgers.
How do you think food impacts our health?
Massively. Exercise is important but I would say food is the majority of how you stay healthy.
What is your workout regime?
I work out five days per week and alternate between going to the gym and Muay Thai boxing sessions, sometimes at 5.00am.
An early workout energises me for the day ahead and I'd recommend that anybody struggling with exercise works towards a varied fitness regime to keep it fun.
What's your guiltiest pleasure?
I have a very bad sweet tooth and drink Coke Zero to fight off cravings to eat big cookies and chocolate cake!
How have your travels inspired you?
Massively. We spend a lot of time in Bali, Ibiza and Los Angeles – those are the places where we get inspiration from for our menu.
What are some of your favorite places in Ibiza?
Ocean Beach, DC10, Bambudda Grove, Pikes Hotel and STK Ibiza.
What do you do to relax and switch off?
I enjoy a good box set, film, or playing with my five-year-old daughter.
How do you motivate your staff?
Leading by example and I am very big on giving people opportunities. I like to promote from within.
What celebrities have you served and why do you think they keep coming back?
Ella Eyre, Rudimental, Nicole Scherzinger. I think first and foremost people come back for the food!
We have worked really hard to make sure that all our dishes are both tasty and healthy.
We also promote a healthy lifestyle and our healthy-living image is what high-profile celebs want to be associated with.
What advise do you have for other entrepreneurs and business owners?
Not to focus on making moves based on the money but find the line between passion and finances.
What does the future hold for The Skinny Kitchen?
We are going worldwide into the UK, USA, UAE and will be opening further locations soon. Watch this space.
Follow Candid on Instagram and send us a DM saying ‘I want to eat at The Skinny Kitchen', plus include your email address, to be in with a chance of winning a meal for two courtesy of The Skinny Kitchen in Islington. Terms and conditions apply. Sign up before 11.59pm on 1 May 2019 to enter.
Read more food and drink features on Candid here.