Lily Hirasawa is founder of the latest health food start up; Food85. Influenced by her Korean and Japanese roots and inspired by Buddhist philosophy, Lily is bringing sustainable and healthy fermented foods to our plates.

Describe the Food85 brand?

Food85 is a place for people to feel connected. We strive to appreciate what is offered to us so generously by this planet, through incorporating the East Asian philosophy of living harmoniously with respect to all living things. We also aim to make the pursuit of wellness more accessible and we want to encourage a sense of wellbeing by promoting a slower pace of life with our slow food and mindful approach.

Where did the original idea stem from?

I first discovered the slow food movement whilst working at Daylesford Organic, the logic made so much sense to me. The real turning point was the passing of my aunt who was like my second mother. Until then I was only really interested in cooking Western cuisines but losing that connection to my home in Japan made me take a moment to pause. At the same time, there was such inspirational initiatives starting up in the industry to tackle food waste, and I decided I wanted to tackle it in my own way, with my particular set of values, from with my own particular background.

What inspired you to make vegan kimchi?

I always had kimchi in my life. My mum made it, my grandmother, and now me. I also have some connection to Buddhism and this particular fermented food originates in this community. I learnt to make vegan kimchi at the oldest monastery in Seoul, South Korea – kimchi originates from the cuisines of Buddhist monks and their original recipe is vegan, as their faith encourages.

What are your aspirations for the brand?

I’m looking to work with other artisan fermented food businesses and eventually import products from Japan and other parts of Asia and share their wealth of knowledge and culture with an international audience, as well as their delicious foods.

Can you talk to us about fermentation and the benefits of fermented foods?

Fermented foods are made with the help of microscopic organisms, they break down foods into a more digestible form for human consumption. This process creates vitamins and minerals that are otherwise locked up inside the ingredients. So for example with kimchi, we allow certain strains of these bacteria – lactobacilli – to cultivate a culture that produces the delicious and distinct tangy flavour of authentic Korean kimchi.

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