As a fan of a great meal in a big bowl, I am so pleased to introduce you to Marissa Bronfman, founder of Bowl Bar. Conceived in India, Bowl Bar will soon bring its delicious, nutritious, east-meets-west vegan offerings to Toronto. Today on Plenty Marissa tells us more about the journey that is landing Bowl Bar right here in town.
Plenty: Tell us about how you got to where you are today?
Marissa: I was writing for Huffington Post after working in their New York City office, and I went to India for a story about an incredible charity in Benares that works with women and children. I fell in love with India and knew I was meant to live and work there. With a background in digital media and journalism, I started freelancing for magazines like Vogue India and Conde Nast Traveller India then opened by own boutique digital media agency, Moxie Media.
This whole time living in Bombay I was bringing back suitcases full of vegan protein powders and superfoods like chia, maca, acai (and so many others) while also choosing new and fresh delicious things from around India to incorporate into my diet. I started sharing images of my smoothie, salad, quinoa and oat bowls on social media and received so much interest, I knew I had to do something in the vegan food space. Years later those Insta-bowls became Bowl Bar!
Plenty: What inspired you to start your business?
Marissa: The amazing response I received from people around India, with the outpouring of questions, requests for recipes, sourcing queries and praise was really flattering and empowering! Originally I wanted to open a beautiful little vegan cafe but things changed and I’m glad I could start Bowl Bar authentically on my own from Day 1.
Plenty: How long have you been in business?
Marissa: We were operational in Bombay for about a year and at this very moment I’m writing to you from India, where I’m back on a sourcing trip for Bowl Bar 2.0. I’m creating a really gorgeous, organic product that I couldn’t be more excited about. Stay tuned on @bowlbar
Plenty: What’s your favorite part of your job? The most challenging?
Marissa: I love crafting and photographing all of our beautiful bowls. Creating a brand is really fun and exhilarating. Social media lets us reach so many people interested in plant-based eating and living all around the world.
Creating, keeping and retailing prepared foods in India is a massive challenge – especially when they’re fresh, raw, vegan and 100% preservative free. Our raw, vegan chia seed pudding bowls were very delicate and we had to be very careful to ensure our beloved customers received perfect bowls every time.
Plenty: Who has inspired you in your work?
Marissa: Many other people in the vegan community! I love how Chef Chloe Coscarelli has revolutionized vegan food to make it fun and cool. Matthew Kenney is another plant-based revolutionary and has a stunning Instagram feed. Every time someone chooses a plant-based meal they’re improving their own health, as well as helping animals and the earth. It’s a very passionate thing to work in the vegan world.
Plenty: Do you have a favorite quote?
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
– Robert Frost
Plenty: How do you come up with new recipes?
Marissa: Inspiration is everywhere! Right now it’s all about India and the color yellow. You’ll see why when Bowl Bar 2.0 launches 🙂
Plenty: What have you been focusing on lately?
Plenty: Tell us about your customers.
Marissa: So many of our incredible customers became brand ambassadors because of their love of the product. We had many Bollywood stars and Indian fashion insiders as customers in India and I believe they really connected with our nutritious, delicious beautiful bowls that gave them clean boosts of energy and well-being. Many of them would share their bowls on Instagram, which really helped us build the brand and buzz.
Many of our customers are not vegan and that’s wonderful! Every meal is an opportunity to make a better choice for yourself and for the planet.
Thanks to Marissa for telling us more about her adventures with Bowl Bar. Follow her journey on Instagram @marissabronfman or @bowlbar for more vegan eye candy!