HomeChef InterviewsInterview With Adria Wu, Founder Of Maple & Fitz We spoke with Adria Wu, founder of Maple & Fitz to find out more about the exciting opening of the health-focused cafe’s second site, as well as a few of the inspirations behind Adria’s deliciously nutritious dishes. What inspired you to change career from engineer to chef? I’ve always loved to create, solve problems and try to improve the way we live! However, I never felt as passionately about machinery as I do about creating the perfect meal. This was a way for me take everything I’ve learned and apply it to something that I love. Tell us more about your culinary background… where did you train? I spent one of the best years of my life training at Le Cordon Bleu here in London and studied nutrition at the BCNH College of Nutrition and Health. What is your cooking ethos? I believe that cooking should be fun, exciting, nutritious and delicious! What is your opinion on traditional January diets? January diet should not be about detoxing, but about getting as much vitamins and minerals from your diet as possible. January is all about the energising foods – think whole grains, nuts and seeds, pulses, fish and leafy greens. What promoted you to open the second site? I wanted to share a wider Maple menu range with more seating and longer opening hours so with our new King’s Cross site, Maple & King’s, we have a brand new healthy brunch menu and superfood cocktails. What’s next on the cards for Maple & Fitz? We are growing up from being the super petite café Maple & Fitz to Maple & Co with more sites opening and working with partners like Nike, Lululemon, Sweaty Betty, Urban Outfitters and MAC Cosmetics. What provides you with inspiration for dishes? Canadian born and raised I was surrounded by fresh food. As a family we always prepared meals from scratch using fresh, local and healthy ingredients many of which came from our own back garden. I love using local ingredients and pairing them with ethnic spices and flavours from either my heritage (Oriental), my husband’s (Indian), or using the ingredients that I discovered while living abroad in the Middle East. Do you have any role models? Sarah Blakely who founded Spanx, the intimate apparel company, with her own savings and started her business by doing everything herself; from selling on shop floors to trying to write her own patent application. Today, her product has been able to help women feel confident and happy from around the world – she has a foundation dedicated to helping women through education and entrepreneurship and is a mother of four! I don’t know how she’s found time and energy to do this, but I hope to someday inspire others to do the same. What’s your current favourite dish on the menu? Our warm energising grain bowl – Ali Habibi. Packed with buckwheat grains, green lentils and shredded brussels sprouts and carrots, this dish is served warm with a savoury and slightly tangy pomegranate dressing. It’s packed with vitamin D and iron too to help us get over the winter flus and blues. Do you have any tips for people looking to cook nutritious meals with a busy lifestyle? Cook ahead! Cook off your favourite pulses and grains on Sundays which will have a 3-5 day fridge life, then use them in warm grain bowls, add into soups or pair with a quick protein like a baked chicken breast. Make and freeze your own dressings. I’ve always struggled with store bought dressings especially when you look at the ingredients on the back of the bottle or the price tag on the shelf. You can make large batches of your own dressings, then freeze into an ice cube tray. When you are ready to use them to a salad, soup or as a marinade, simple defrost in fridge overnight or during the day while at work. To find out more about Maple & Fitz, click here.