YouTube star Mikey Pearce and Made in Chelsea’s Verity Bowditch talk Clean Kitchen Club and providing vegan meals to school children.
A sandwich. It all started with a THIS Isn’t Bacon sandwich for Mikey Pearce. But there is a little more to the back story. The lockdown in March 2020 got people attempting all sorts of new things, and veganism was one of them.
Pearce, a former YouTube sensation, was in Brighton and visited his mother, who suffered from food poisoning from eating chicken. She decided to stop eating meat, which encouraged Pearce to try the meat alternative sandwich. “It was awesome, awesome, awesome,” he recalls.
He started to cut down on his meat intake after watching The Game Changers, and slowly introduced himself to more of a plant-based diet. He adds: “I was a big meat-eater in the past, but if I can actually change my ways, eat all this stuff, then I’m sure other people can too.” This inspired Pearce to launch Clean Kitchen Club. The plant-based business offers a healthier alternative to fast-food, which is 100% vegan.
@cleankitchenukWhy I quit YouTube and how I lost 4 stone in 2 years 🌱💚#fyp #viral #veganuary #weightloss #vegan #transformation♬ πρωτότυπος ήχος – 🅼🅴🅻ᴹᴼᵀᴵⱽ 🅰 ᵀᴵᴼᴺ🅞🆁🅶🅽🅻
It first began as a delivery service in Brighton during the first lockdown. “I rented a little space in the kitchen and put it onto Deliveroo. I created a little brand and basically thought: ‘Let’s see how it goes.” Nearly a year later, it has become a successful full-time business. At the start of 2021, Pearce announced that E4’s Made in Chelsea star and clean-living advocate Verity Bowditch would join the team to help promote veganism during Veganuary, but also help the business become more popular within the UK food scene.
“I grew up on a small farm with rescues and my love for animals has been deep-rooted since childhood. I’ve always been vegetarian, but the more I was educated on factory farming and the effects it has on global warming, the more I realised that living a plant-based life is one of the biggest things we can do to reduce it,” she explains.
View this post on Instagram
“I truly hope that we can help change age-old thinking and make a real difference to the lives of humans, animals and the future of the planet we share. I hope to lead the sustainability drive on our way to aim to be carbon-neutral and zero waste,” she adds.
Two years ago, Pearce was a full-time YouTuber. He is soon to relaunch his channel alongside Bowditch, being physically and mentally healthier. “I want that channel to be now a place where it’s a real kind of motivator. We focus on workouts, fitness tips and we want to create a nice community,” he says. They also want to make educational content on the effects of the environment and help people get introduced to a plant-based diet, using the platform to spread the word.
The pair also launched a six-week challenge, where they will promote fitness and a plant-based lifestyle. They’ve had over 1,000 signups through the challenge.
View this post on Instagram
Pearce explains that his partnership with Bowditch allows the brand to stay authentic as they spread a positive message. He says: “She brings that kind of realness to the company and really makes sure that we have the right values and that we keep following them.”
In order to showcase this, the duo recently did a campaign where they gave away 1,000 schools meals. Bowditch said to Pearce: “Why can’t we do something?” sparking their initiative. Pearce was also taken back by a message he received about how the business would give away free meals to influencers on social media, when there is the issue of free school meals circulating the media. “My mom texted me saying it was a good initiative to do, so that made me pretty happy. And Verity, she was the driving force behind it.” Clean Kitchen Club is also raising money for Compassion in World Farming, whose goal is to end factory farming.
Featured on Deliveroo’s Top-Rated for Value and also PETA-approved, the business is becoming increasingly popular and is also available at BOXPARK Wembley. Bowditch has recently been working on its latest menu. She says: “I’ve also had a huge hand in developing the new ‘Quick and Clean’ menu alongside nutritionist Emily English, which is so delicious and the perfect alternative to fast food.”
View this post on Instagram
They have big plans for the future as they hope to expand. Pearce says: “It’s now a business that we want to open multiple sites for across the UK and compete with the likes of LEON etc. to be that plant-based grab-and-go concept.”
They are going to be launching food challenges, educating and taking people on their plant-based and fitness journeys. He says: “We want to do like a Couch to 5K, but from meat-eater to vegan in 12 weeks or something like that. We just want to open people’s eyes and say: ‘Look, it does taste nice, it does taste good, and it is better for you and the environment.”
During the summer, Pearce hopes to open up a flagship site in Soho and a location in Spitalfields Market. However, his ultimate goal is to be the number one grab-and-go brand in the UK. He also aspires to tap into the vegan hospitality industry and create a ‘plant-based Soho House’, a health and wellness club.
Pearce reflects: “Through this kind of brand, I really do hand-on-heart mean that it’s changed my life. By just being introduced to an exercise regime and a plant-based diet, I feel so much fitter, lighter, and just so much more clear-headed.”