Lewes café owner to launch second venture

The owner of a purpose-before-profit vegan café in Lewes is to expand her business.

Monday, 27th January 2020, 3:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th January 2020, 9:18 am
Maya Clark, founder of Soul Soup, in Lewes. Photograph: Peter Cripps/ SUS-190110-220229008

Maya Clark, founder of social enterprise Soul Soup at the Unity Centre, on Friars Walk, is to takeover the kitchen at Presuming Ed’s Coffeehouse, in Brighton.

Following the model of her Lewes café, she will serve affordable, plant-based brunch and lunch options created from produce destined for landfill at the London Road venue from February 8.

Soul Soup @ Ed’s will run for three months to start with, with the menu available at weekends for the first month and then the possibility of it being available most of the week by the spring.

The Unity Centre, in Lewes, home to Maya's first venture. Photograph: Peter Cripps/ SUS-190110-220217008

Maya says the opportunity at Presuming Ed’s ‘came about totally out of the blue’.

She said: “When you spot such a great opportunity you just have to go for it.”

Maya, who lives in Brighton, opened Soul Soup at the well-being centre – formerly home to the town’s Turkish Baths – in September. She sources produce through organisations FareShare Sussex, UK Harvest and via partnerships with allotments and small businesses. Any surplus produce is donated to the charity Lewes Open Door, which supports those who are homeless and vulnerable in the community, and it also operates a ‘pay it forward’ form of loyalty card, which once fully stamped means the customer can choose a meal or food item to give to the charity to distribute to those in need.

She says she will continue to work with such organisations to source food for her Brighton venture and that she is looking to partner with a charity in the city to benefit from its ‘pay it forward’ card scheme.

Plant-based food at Soul Soup. Photograph: Peter Cripps/ SUS-190110-220252008

Speaking of the new venture, Maya said: “I’m still pinching myself to be honest. It’s just incredible how rapidly Soul Soup has taken off – we’re blown away by the support in Brighton and Lewes for our mission to fight food waste and promote sustainable plant-based diets.

“Our Brighton customers are chuffed they don’t have to make the journey out to Lewes any more either.

“I love that Soul Soup will be in two totally different settings as well – customers can choose between a yoga and well-being centre in a historic building in Lewes or Bloody Mary’s, eclectic decor and good vibes in Brighton.”

She added: “It’s of course a little daunting starting in a second location just months after opening our first cafe, as well as just generally keeping up with the workload, but I love a challenge and I couldn’t be more grateful for such a hard working team that’s passionate about our ethos.”

To read more about Soul Soup, see here