APIECE APART WOMAN
Joy Rose is making lunchtime more special. With her London-based business David & Joy (which she co-operates with food writer David Bez), Joy sources, prepares, and delivers — by bicycle! — healthy and locally-sourced boxed lunches around the city. The business is as much a nod to breaking away from “desk lunch” norms as it is a reminder to pay consideration to something as routine as your workday lunch break; we visited Joy at home to discuss perfectly-dressed greens, the palette of seasonality, and salad as “the main event.”
You were raised in England, but your parents are from California. Was the accessibility to fresh food always something you were interested in?
I grew up always having wholesome food at home. My Californian parents always had the larder well-stocked and a garden full of salad leaves. I took it for granted. During the first three years of looking after myself at university I ate loads of baked bean on toast. At first it felt indulgent, but soon I wanted to have the well-sourced, delicious, colorful, and healthy fare I’d grown up on. I realized that finding this wasn’t always easy. My first job after I graduated was at my university focusing on how to increase food sustainability on campus. I met an amazing network of people, from community food groups and farmers to food entrepreneurs, chefs, and policy makers. From my desk job I got interested in the lunchtime market, in particular where to get a wholesome salad. With some research, a business plan, and a successful crowdfunding campaign, I started my first food business called Bloombox Salads in Edinburgh, all about crafting wholesome, seasonal, satisfying salads and cycling them to people, ready-to-eat for lunchtime. David Bez, the London-based writer of the salad blog “Salad Pride,” emailed me after seeing my crowdfunding video. It didn’t take long for us to agree that we wanted to combine forces and I moved to London this spring to launch David & Joy.
What is a salad anyway? This word is used all the time, but what does the word “salad” mean to you?
Thankfully, I think the days of salad being iceberg lettuce and a few cherry tomatoes are almost over. Salads can be the main event. With the right mix of ingredients and a dressing they have all the nutrition, textures, and flavors for a full meal. It can be a great creative and intuitive process throwing together whatever you’re craving.
How do you dress a salad (and do you have a recipe you can share?)
Dressings are there to provide flavor and color to a salad so its good to make sure you have made plenty. If you have any leftover, dressings keep really well in the fridge (except if they have a high oil content…the oil can turn to solid in the fridge) and some actually get better a few days after they’re made when the flavors have had time to settle. I find if you have a lot of strong-tasting vegetables in the salad it is good to match their taste with a strong dressing and vice versa if you’re using more subtle vegetables. One of my favorite recipes is for a tahini mustard dressing. The recipe is: 1 part honey, 1 part mustard, a pinch of salt, 2 parts lemon juice, a dash of brown rice vinegar, 4 parts rapeseed oil, and 2 parts tahini. Mix all ingredients together and add a bit of water if you want a more runny consistency.
Joy wears MARTYNA BUTTON UP BLOUSE in navy wool, SAMARA SHIRT DRESS in white and SANTIAGO RIB LEGGING (all coming soon)
What are you most passionate about?
1. Creating a business that supports a sustainable food system.
2. Making nourishing food more accessible to a wider range of people.
3. Finding a balance in life. You compose all of your dishes to not only be sustainably sourced and healthy but also to look beautiful.
What ingredients do you find the most aesthetically pleasing?
Edible flowers are a very colorful addition to a salad and it’s easy to grow your own. I use them in most of my salads (that’s how Bloombox got its name). I love how the seasons change my salads: spring salads have plenty of vibrant green, summer salads feature shades of red summer fruits, autumn salads have the burnt orange of roasted squash, and winter salads have subtle colors from roasted root vegetables like parsnips and potatoes.
Can you provide some advice on foraging edible flowers and other ingredients?
Edible flowers (borage, nasturtium, calendula) are easy to grow from a packet of seeds. All you need is a sunny windowsill and to start the seeds off in early spring. I grew the flowers used for Bloombox in my own back garden. You can also forage for flowers, even in urban areas, but always do your research on anything your forage and if in doubt, don’t try it.
Can you share a recipe for your favorite salad?
Massaged kale, red cabbage, roasted beetroot, sliced apple, with amaranth and a sea buckthorn dressing
Directions: De-stem the kale and roughly chop it. Finely chop red cabbage and add to same bowl as the kale. Add a few pinches of salt and massage leaves until they begin to soften (massaging leaves helps the cell walls in the leaves break down, making them easier to digest). Rinse amaranth seeds and prepare, combining 1 part amaranth to just shy of 1 part boiling water and a pinch of salt. Cook in a covered pot for 15 -20 mins. In baking tray, spread out bite-sized, chopped beetroot and drizzle a few tablespoons of rapeseed oil and balsamic vinegar and pinch of salt on top. Cover with foil and put in the oven at 160 degrees for 30 mins (or until a bit crispy). Rinse sesame seeds and toast them, then (ideally a suribachi bowl but pestle and mortar will do) add a tiny pinch of salt and grind together. Finally, chop the watercress and parsley, and core and slice the apple. Put everything into your salad bowl. For the dressing, combine 2 tablespoons sea buckthorn juice, 1 tablespoon honey, ½ clove garlic, and ¾ tsp Dijon mustard. Blend together and dress your salad.
What do you make for dinner at home?
Depends on the season, but typically I start with a bowl of miso or a simple soup. On warmer days I start with sauerkraut or pressed salad. I love wholegrain brown rice, dahl, or black beans mixed with blanched greens or a colorful veg/ salad and perhaps some sea vegetables. I’ll finish it with a dip or dressing for the greens, some toasted sesame seeds, salt, and a jar of tahini for extra flavor.
Do you listen to music while you work? What is on recent rotation?
Yes, music or a podcast. My favorites are ‘Mount Wittenberg Orca’ by Dirty Projectors, Bjork, ‘Nashville Skyline’ by Bob Dylan, ‘Live in Seattle’ by Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, Crosby Stills and Nash, Fleetwood Mac, and Arthur Russell. Podcasts I like are On Being or BBC’s food programs.
"Balancing work and life while getting a business off the ground. When it’s so exciting and so much to do it can be hard to know when to take a break."
Who are your role models?
Fi Martynoga (well-known forager and writer of wild harvesting in Scotland), Alice Waters, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, Alexandra Pope (founder of the Red School).
How do you spend a day off?
Any of the following: practicing shiatsu or meditation, helping out in a community garden teaching kids about plants, a cycle trip, camping at the beach or forest, long walks, drawing and gathering edible plants along the way, cooking a delicious meal with friends.
What have been the biggest challenges in launching your own business?
Balancing work and life while getting a business off the ground. When it’s so exciting and so much to do it can be hard to know when to take a break.
What have been the easiest parts?
Connecting with other people who are passionate about sustainable food. There are so many great people working in the field and they fill me with inspiration and energy to do more with my business.
What’s the most memorable meal you’ve had?
A dinner at my family’s farm in Chile. It was an amazing evening, sitting out on the back porch on a summer evening looking out over the olive grove and drinking natural wine called ‘Tinte’ that we processed as a family on the farm. We ate fresh tomatoes, basil, and olive oil to start, with beetroot burgers on sourdough buns, sweet potato wedges, and black beans with garlic and chili cooked in the solar cooker (which is basically slow cooking using only the sun’s energy). For dessert, poached nectarines and blackberries with almond cream! It was a dream — everything came from the farm and was so fresh and delicious.
What other things are you interested in right now?
In the recent sunny weather I have been making sun prints of different plants I collected. Sun prints are also known as cyanotypes, and are made from a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print. I am also exploring macrobiotic foods and am dipping in and out of Pablo Neruda’s beautiful poetry.
Photography by ROBIN STEIN | Words by LEIGH PATTERSON