Interview with Mellisa Mills of Spread’Em Kitchen

Melissa Mills of SpreadEm Kitchen
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We’d like to welcome Mellisa of Spread’Em Kitchen, a Vancouver business that creates delicious vegan dips. Following our interview with Mellisa, we will show you a recipe using a personal favourite – the beet dip – which not only tastes great, but is also beautifully photogenic!

What was the first spread you created, and how did you decide to release it to the world?

The first spread I made was the beet cashew balsamic spread. I was inspired after a trip to Australia where I found they put pickled beetroot on everything! Sandwiches, burgers, fries, salads…and it was delicious!  I came home craving that flavour so I started playing around.

Why is important to you that your spreads are
plant-based?

I’ve always loved dips and spreads. But most of the popular ones for sale when I was growing up weren’t exactly good for you, and I’ve always believed that food should be delicious and healthy. I’ve since learned a lot about food and agriculture and believe a mostly plant-based diet is best for our bodies and the environment.

It’s so great that your products are non-GMO. How difficult was it for you to connect with farmers growing non-gmo crops and what did you learn from this process?

Surprisingly, I didn’t find this too difficult. First off, it’s the foods that are also commodities such as corn and wheat and sugar beets that have a high chance of being GMO so I stay away from those altogether. I also source my ingredients from local growers whenever possible. And of course I do my research. Most large farms have helpful information posted on their websites, but it’s easy enough to phone and ask. I have found that life has a funny way of bringing together people who have similar values and similar missions.

 

Do you have any advice for our readers who are considering self-employment?

I would say go for it! I won’t lie it’s not easy at all. There is a lot of responsibility and all I do is think about my business but if you are the type of person who works really hard and can stay focused on a goal, it’s incredibly rewarding. The ‘why’ is really important. Health, the environment and community are my reasons. I make my dips because I think they will help change the world for the better in some small way. People eat every day after all. I make something that is tasty, sure, but I am also providing something nourishing and creative that will hopefully inspire people to experiment at home. Perhaps making their own dip combinations or using my dips in other ways like you have done, Anna!

Did you have any mentors, and what did you learn from them?

I have had a ton of mentors, but most of them didn’t even know it! I’m open and ready to be learning at all times. Thus everyone has a lesson to teach if you’re willing to listen.
In a nutshell, never give up. There are highs and lows, but never lose sight of why you’re doing what you’re doing and always try to have fun. The rest will take care of itself. Except for the accounting. Do get an accountant.

What are your go-to toppings for stuff on toast?

I always start with one of my spreads and then I just go with what’s fresh and in-season because it’s  too beautiful not to eat! Pickled radishes, sautéed zucchini blossoms, caramelized onions, you know, just the basics. Fresh herbs like chives and oregano are great. Mushrooms are always good.

What are your three favorite things to do in Vancouver?

1. Hanging out with friends at Trout Lake
2. Grabbing a kombucha on tap and walking down Commercial Drive
3. Playing pinball at the Biltmore

 

Thank you so much to Mellisa for answering our questions, it was truly a pleasure to learn more about you and your vegan spreads. Want to see more from Spread’Em Kitchen? Follow on instagram at @spreadem_kitchen

 

Vegan Rainbow Wraps with beet spread

 

You’ll need

  • 1 sheet of nori, cut into quarters
  • 1 small carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/4 red pepper, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 small cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • 1-2 green onion, green section only, cut to the length of the quartered nori sheet
  • 1 handful of cilantro or parsley
  • 1 handful of sunflower sprouts
  • 1/2 cup of beet spread*

Process

  • Arrange the vegetables between the four pieces of nori. Add a large dollop of beet spread to each one, roll up, and eat!

 

Serves one person, or makes four appetizers.

*We recommend using Spread’Em Kitchen beet spread but if this is not available to you, try blending one roasted beet with one cup of hummus in the food processor until smooth.

Beet spread wraps

 

Have any comments or questions? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

 

 

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