Change-Maker 1. Vegan Eco-preneur – Robyn

NFE’s Founder, Rachel Parsons, has been out and about meeting some of the New Forest’s most inspiring local legends… aka ‘Change-makers’…in today’s interview, Rachel met with Robyn Chiedozie owner of The Tinkers Granddaughter….

Change-maker. Café owner. Seriously ambitious lady. Serial foodie entrepreneur. Hustler for sustainable local food networks. Collaborator. Runs the Tinkers Granddaughter, plant-based eatery/deli/store and P/T cocktail bar in Lymington. Has a mountain of vision… Watch her space!

 

Rachel Parsons New Forest Escapes and Robyn Chiedozie TTG.

Q. Why do you think that what you’re doing is normal? Because it isn’t! Your resilience and ability to reinvent yourself is impressive.

“I just refuse to quit. You can change stuff. Just get it done. People always say it’s too hard, it won’t work and that’s true. If you’re not determined, it won’t happen. Of course I’m tired, I work 70 hours a week, I get one day off if I’m lucky. You just have to do this bit to get the payback, which is absolutely worth it – change for the better is worth it”

Q. What do you want to do in the future?

On Friday and Saturday evenings I now run a wine bar here at The Tinkers Granddaughter. I hope to develop the cellar which is an old smuggling store room into a basement cocktail bar. That’ll be fun.

I am going to get the food truck back up and out on the road again very soon.

And I really want to set up a collaborative project with some other forward-thinking businesses to showcase sustainable living. There isn’t enough going on here with that, yet it’s the biggest growing market sector and we’re at the start of a carbon revolution. I want to be involved in leading that.

Q. What annoys you?

There isn’t enough locally sourced good food on offer. And there isn’t enough good food provenance and use. The Isle of Wight produces the best tomatoes in the UK. They come off the ferry in this town, but you can’t buy them here. That’s ridiculous. Poor food networks and businesses not buying and supporting local annoys me.

Q. What do you want to change?

Well, food networks for a start! I’d love to start a grocers and general store that is beautiful and cool, stocking local food that showcases the area’s farming talents and emerging new businesses. I love to work in collaboration with other businesses and change things up.

Q. How did you get here, in this place, in the world, today?

I’m a local girl. I studied architecture and interiors but fell into hospitality. My speciality was making cocktails and I travelled extensively doing that, competing globally. It was a real eye opener to me that hospitality was a career move. After a few years I got a job doing restaurant and bar interiors and had my own business – wanderlustdesign.co.uk – I was a ‘fixer’ for hospitality businesses wanting to review menus and their interiors. But it was too desk based.

In 2019 I sold it all. I worked on a 54m yacht and cooked for people. But the meaty diet made me ill, so in 2020 I cooked for a yoga retreat in Ibiza. People started to travel from all over the island for my food. It was the first time I’d cooked for others and received such incredible feedback, it was humbling and lovely.

So during lockdown, I accidentally, at midnight, bought myself a tiny vintage food truck. So overnight I set up the Tinkers Granddaughter, a plant-based food truck.

(At this point I had to stop the interview and just ask her to pause, and clarify that actually that was only 12 months ago, and crikey does this girl achieve!). She goes on…

“Yes, buying the truck was a very happy accident, because a shop on the Lymington High Street fell through. The truck was on the Isle of Skye. It was a bit painful to get it back and running, but we got there. Dorrie the food truck was up for our first day in the worst weather on the Saturday market last November. But it was a success.

Now I have the café. My family have been amazing. It’s certainly a success so far and I’m very excited to see what the future holds…for myself and for Lymington!”

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