10 Questions With An Instagram Food Star: Elly Curshen | sheerluxe.com

10 Questions With An Instagram Food Star: Elly Curshen

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Given that she’s a café owner, cook, food writer and Instagram star, you may well have heard of Elly Curshen, also known as Elly Pear. Following the success of The Pear Café, which she opened in Bristol in 2006, she’s cementing her status as a foodie authority with the launch of her second book, Let’s Eat.

We caught up with her to talk setting up a business and why she hates the term ‘clean eating’...

Did you ever think you’d end up where you are now?

Although I’ve always been a foodie and often thought about setting up my own business, I never thought I’d end up running a café. Prior to setting up The Pear Café I was managing a gastropub in Bristol and worked as a waitress in pubs and clubs from the age of 17.

My degree was entirely unrelated to food and I actually taught myself how to cook. Now, I run the café, write my books and I also host lots of events under my Elly Pear ‘umbrella’, including supper clubs and pop-ups.

So how exactly did the café come about?

I signed up to a half-day business course to learn more about catering and events, realised one of the units where the course was being held was empty, sent across my business proposal two days later, and the café opened within the month. Impetuous? Maybe; I can't quite believe how it’s all worked out.

What’s the best bit about your job?

Every day is different. I get to do a lot of exciting things but there's a lot of slogging about and the less glamorous, stressful side to it, too.

And the best advice you’ve been given?

Just crack on.

What’s been the biggest challenge?

Over the last decade, it’s just been me, no business partner, and it can be challenging at times to do everything on your own, especially when it comes to taking time off and holidays. At the end of the day though, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

On a Similar Note

What’s your opinion on the whole clean eating phase?

I hate the phrase ‘clean eating’ – it insinuates some food is dirty, which is a load of rubbish. The menu at The Pear Café champions local, fresh ingredients, which is something I am passionate about. Our legendary brownies are a must-try...

So how do you stay on track when surrounded by food?

People often ask how I resist the cakes at the café; I'd be eating my profits if I ate them so I don't (most of the time). I did the 5:2 diet for many years (my first book, Fast Days and Feast Days, is based on that way of eating) which taught me about portion control, a tricky thing to manage when you’re constantly recipe testing, but my new book is different. All the recipes are centred around vegetables, grains, pulses and dairy – not everything low calorie has to be pre-packaged!

What’s been your most memorable moment to date?

Doing interviews with newspapers, magazines, websites and radio stations I love is always a thrill; and waiting to go live on air on Women's Hour was certainly memorable. Nothing beats seeing my book in a shop for the first time though. I'm bad at stopping and enjoying these moments but I'm trying my best to get better at it – life goes by very fast when your head’s down and you’re working hard all the time. 

Who are your biggest supports?

My good friend Jemma Wilson (who owns the cake company Crumbs and Doilies) is invaluable to vent to about 'running your own business' issues and my best girlfriends are my lifeline when I'm having work meltdowns. It's sideways support rather than support from above, I suppose. 

What are you working towards at the moment?

I’ll be at festivals over the summer and I’m really excited! I’m going to Camp Bestival and the Abergavenny Food Festival, both of which are incredible.

For more information, visit EllyPear.com

Let’s Eat by Elly Curshen, £20
Inspiration Credits: CulinaryTravels.co.uk, EllyPear.com
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