The Skinny Kitchen Ibiza Interview
The Skinny Kitchen Ibiza took the island by storm when it opened in 2014 in the West End of San Antonio offering a healthy alternative to the usual burger and breakfast menus on offer to tourists in the resort.
With an ethos of Eat Clean, Rave Dirty they provide good quality, health conscious food to those living and visiting Ibiza meaning that all that hard work getting your beach body ready isn’t wasted.
Over the last two and half years they have gone from strength to strength with two restaurants in Ibiza and two in the UK with a third opening shortly and the are also now offering franchise opportunities across the UK and Europe.
We took the time to sit down with owner Lois to discuss The Skinny Kitchen, her love of Ibiza and what the future holds.
Welcome to the blog, first of all congratulations on your huge success with Skinny Kitchen and our first question has to be where did the original idea and concept come from?
We came out to Ibiza in early April one year for a long weekend, one of our many yearly trips. As usual, we found it so hard to dine out anywhere as we all cared about was what we ate and would never consider going out for a greasy fry-up or burger and chips back home so why should we have to do it on holiday? Two of us are vegetarians so it pretty much restricted our diet to cheese and bread when in Ibiza. We were a little hungover one morning and eating an unwelcome greasy breakfast when the idea just hit us, if no one else was going to do it then we should. So during a greasy breakfast that morning, we came up with the name and brand and spent the rest of the day searching for a small cafe to rent.
Can you tell us a little about the management team/owners?
We are 3 friends who have known each other for years. We all come from really different backgrounds, so found that we easily slotted into our own individual roles for the business. Lois and Rachel initially started off as the chefs in the kitchen, as we were always interested in making healthy food and Joel was out the front making protein shakes and smoothies.
However, nowadays we all have very different roles with Joel who heads up the company as our Managing Director, Lois is in charge of Creative, Social and General operations and Rachel is focused on Marketing and Graphic Design.
You opened your first restaurant in the West End of San Antonio Ibiza, how nervous were you about bringing such a new concept to an island known mainly for its partying excesses?
Honestly, we weren’t nervous at all, just excited. The cafe we rented had an old A frame blackboard so we drew our logo on it along with a list of things that we would be serving such as ‘protein shakes, fresh juices, salads and clean meals’ and the reaction we got from the second we put it out was amazing. People were walking past taking photos!
It gave us so much confidence and by the time we were ready to open the doors we had customers who had seen photos of our blackboard on people’s Instagram’s and already knew about us!
Healthy eating is now common place along every high street and popular tourist resort across the world, do you think people are much more aware of what they eat now than ever before?
Healthy eating has hit us in a big way and is extremely fashionable now. It may be because people are now more aware of what they eat but it could also be because they want to be involved with the latest trends but either way its great to see so many people adopting a healthy diet and we don’t think people will stop wanting to eat well.
In the short time we have been open (almost 3 years) we have watched as the supermarket shelves have changed dramatically. When we started out we struggled to even get hold of chai seeds. Now you can get chickpea flour, microwavable cauliflower rice or an array of ‘free from’ options easily.
Eating healthy doesn’t mean eating bland and you are the masters of using alternative ingredients to make everyone’s favourite dishes. How much time and effort goes into planning a new menu item and getting the balance of the replacement ingredients just right?
In short – a lot! We constantly work on our menu to make sure we are suited to as many diets as possible from low carb/high protein to gluten free and vegan. Trying to appeal to all these people is a long process and so much thought is put into each meal to make it appealing to as many diets as we can and we always ask for feedback from our customers to make sure we are serving exactly what they want. We measure stats of our most popular meals and then incorporate more of that into any menu changes.
We change the Ibiza menu slightly each year, to stay on top of health food trends. At the moment they are constantly changing and we want to be ahead of the game and to give customers what they want. We keep our blog up to date with health food trends, and you can expect to see them in our menu at some point.
Ibiza is a forever changing island and although is probably still best known as a party island with the increase in yoga/fitness retreats and a more health conscious tourist visiting do you see this market expanding across the island over the coming years?
We can certainly see this happening but can’t see the party vibe ever leaving Ibiza. It’s primarily what people come for. But the best way to get over that hangover is with fresh juice and healthy food and people are starting to realise that which means more cafes and restaurants will certainly look to catering for this customer with additional menu items.
The Skinny Kitchen is unique though as 100% of the food on our menu is a healthy option, so whatever healthy item you choose you will get something to help you recover from the party the night before!
With the Christmas festivities just passed what are your three top tips for looking and feeling healthy ready for the summer?
We have always said we don’t believe in diets, just eat well all the time and make sure you love the food you eat. This way it will never feel like a diet.
Experiment with new ingredients and cooking, go to the gym as regularly as your body needs to, and of course visit The Skinny Kitchen when you are in Ibiza to maintain your healthy diet throughout the summer!
What does the future hold for Skinny Kitchen in Ibiza and elsewhere?
We now have two sites in Ibiza and two in the UK as well as one opening soon in Belfast. We intend to open more in both countries and are currently franchising as well.
We want The Skinny Kitchen food to also be available from convenient grab and go locations so are looking at pre-packaging options as well. Getting healthy food on the go is another area that we see a massive gap in the market, in both the UK and Ibiza.
On those rare days when you get to take it easy where do you love to go in Ibiza to get away from the crowds and the hustle and bustle of the tourist areas?
Ocean beach is probably our favourite destination for a day out along with trips to Ibiza town for some retail therapy. Sitting beside a pool or on the beach and just enjoying the Ibiza sun is always a welcome treat too!
For those who have never visited Ibiza before and just think its a party-crazed island what would you say?
We think Ibiza has something for everyone. It is such beautiful island with so many attractions and as mentioned previously yoga retreats are becoming increasingly popular. It is not all about the partying, you can easily spend your time just enjoying the beautiful beaches, scenic landscapes and its culture. It truly is an island for everyone.
Our thanks go to Lois from The Skinny Kitchen for taking the time to talk to us. You can find their restaurants in the West End and beside the marina in San Antonio, Ibiza. In the UK there are open in Bournemouth, Canterbury and soon to be open Belfast.