Ok, ok, so it's been almost a year (what?!) since we've posted here, and a LOT has happened, BUT I promise our lengthy absence from the blog will have been worth the wait because today I present to you our Christmas campaign to highlight and champion some brilliant lovely fabulous folks in our Norwich/Norfolk area: #fillourtable
As you know, we here at Figbar have a big sharing table in the middle of our restaurant. It's central to our ethos- scootch up and make friends over a shared delicious experience. What you may not have known is that we stole that table directly from Chef Jaime's mum's kitchen! The table holds so many memories for our family, and we love that it now has shared memories for you and your families and friends.
With that in mind, we were thinking of our Christmas dinner and those ideal dinner parties that often become the focus of conversation- who would you invite? Why? and all those other party game questions that really get you thinking. So that's what we are doing for the whole of December in the lead up to Christmas. We're introducing you to some of our favorite people: restaurants, chefs, entrepreneurs, bloggers, managers, friends, and people of interest who we have come to know through this Figbar adventure. These lovely folks have agreed to take a seat at our table, answer a few questions, and allow us to highlight their brilliance over our social media in the lead up to a lovely hypothetical Christmas meal.
First up, it's my great pleasure to begin with one of our neighbors on the Norwich Lanes- the incomparable Tofurei. We've been big fans of them since they opened shortly after we did, but we only truly became friends after being pitted against each other for the title of 'Best Newcomer' in the Norfolk Food & Drink Awards this year. Do you know that the EDP made all the category finalists sit at the same table for 3 hours before the awards started?! But what could have been awkward was instead one of the most fun evenings you could have with competitor... turned colleagues... turned support network.... turned friends. (3 hours is a long time, you guys!). And it's remained steadfast since!
So without further adieu... TOFUREI we are SO excited for you to be the first to arrive to #fillourtable
Name: Tofurei - "a relaxing vegan coffee shop and grab'n'go. Showingcasing output from the UK's first shop based micro soya dairy and their unique deli-counter with soysages, burgers, as well as tofu."
About: Team tofurei are just 14 months old, and growing quickly. We’re a diverse bunch ranging in age from 20 to 60 years old. We include natives of Norwich and Norfolk, Leeds & Mansfield but also naturalised citizens of 30 years residency. Our previous occupations range from animal sanctuary workers, barista’s, chefs & ‘kp’s’ to teaching assistants & teachers, ofsted inspector, the RAF and business analyst. We all share a passion for plant based food.
Where can we find you? 12 Pottergate, Norwich NR2 1DS @tofurei and @tofurei_norwich
1. You are at our Christmas dinner party, aside from us, who would you have at your ideal table and why?
Well, it’s very generous of you not only to invite us, but also our guests so we hope it’s a big table:-) There are quite a few of us - with a lot of different ideas for who we’d also like to share the table with! A great meal deserves to be shared, especially with those who from necessity rather than choice might otherwise be alone, or unable to organise the feast we know you’ll provide. So one guest, suitably anonymous, would represent that group. It also deserves interesting and erudite conversation, and whilst everyone could contribute that, we’d also like David Attenborough & Jeremy Corbyn along to add an extra dimension - assuming that for practical reasons only the living can attend!
2. What foods are you most thankful for?
A difficult one - we love food, and have a suitably diverse range of tastes. Some of us have very sweet tooth’s, but others love their savoury treats. The one thing we have in common is that our foods are all plant based. Probably predictably we love Soya for its versatility. We can use it to make drinks, & cereal accompaniments. It can give us tofu, which we can use for a really rich cheesecake, or tasty Cumberland style soysages and savoury burger patties - and we haven’t even yet got into smoked and fermented varieties. It’s also a great crop for our local farmers. Some of us are also partial to a nice cheese and we have some really interesting ones ones made using traditional techniques and cultures but applied to nuts. Finally a big shout out for cocoa and coffee beans. Where would we be without chocolate and coffee to finish a good meal!
3. What is your most cherished family tradition regarding food?
We’re a bit new to have our own tradition yet, so we draw on those from our backgrounds. Through all the hectic whirl of day to day life, the very busy weeks and noise of technology in our lives, we all enjoy finding one opportunity a week to share a meal together with those we live with. For that one meal, the only technology that may be allowed would be music - phones, TV and tablets definitely off..... and at least once a year we also like to extend that to the diaspora of those whom we are emotionally close to, but geographically distant.
4. What act of kindness has made the biggest/greatest difference to your life?
Collectively we can’t say other than the kindness that has supported team tofurei to come into existence, and is giving us the opportunity to do so much more next year. It also marks a tremendous act of faith, and vote of confidence in us.
5. What is the best compliment you have ever received?
Being thanked, ‘just for being there’.
6. If you had a dollar/pound to give to anyone in the world, who would you give it to and why?
The value of a gift is so contextual - a £ is such a small sum to us, and in comparison to the costs of things in our society, so little. In other societies that value may be greater but even here there are people for whom the act itself would have a symbolic value far greater than its monetary value. If we correctly chose our anonymous dinner guest, then hopefully it would be them.
Thank you, Tofurei! We've loved getting to know you better! Now everyone go grab some of their delicious tofu!!