Interview: Reassessing the Way We Think about Food with Emmanuelle Sawko, Wild & the Moon

Emanuelle Sawko is the director, creator and cofounder of cafes Wild & the Moon in Paris and Dubai and Comptoir 102, Dubai’s award winning concept store and organic health cafe. Emanuelle is based in Paris where she lives with her husband and three children.

What inspired you to open Wild and the Moon?

I was born in New York to Parisian parents but grew up in the Swiss mountains before moving to Paris to work in advertising. In Paris, I met my husband with whom I had three children and we moved to New York as a family. New York has always been my “Ville de Coeur” and holds a special space in my heart. It is there that I discovered a new concept of healthy eating, plant based and environmentally friendly. When we moved to Dubai, I opened the first concept store of the region for home decor, design and fashion, as well as a 100% organic restaurant and café. It was a risky move in a city where hamburgers rule but our customers embraced the concept and the feedback has been amazing.

I wanted to be able to offer more and decided to push the concept further with Wild & the Moon so I opened a 100% organic and plant based juice bar and restaurant. Not just one, actually, as we opened simultaneously in Paris and Dubai and will soon open in New York.

The powerful plant alchemy of our recipes does not only deliver high doses of vital energy to your body but will re-ignite your taste buds too.

I think we need to reassess the way we think about food, not just for our health but for the planet as well. We can’t keep being blind consumers of junk food, damaging our bodies, our environment, the planet’s resources…There is a gentle way and this is the Wild & the Moon Concept: food that is good for you, good for the planet and delicious.

Wild and the Moon offers organic, raw, vegan and gluten free food – why are these important to you? 

Because they are respectful of our ecosystem: of our own bodies as well as our surroundings. The concept actually goes beyond raw, vegan and gluten free. We aim to offer food that is pure, promoting a sustainable agriculture, leaving food as natural and untouched as possible to preserve all its goodness, without any additives, toxins, chemicals.

All our preparation methods ensure our food is as close to its original state as possible, with its natural healing force intact.

We also aim to give back to the less fortunate. Part of our benefits go to the Mary’s Meal association which provides meals and encourages schooling for children in need.

Do you work with herbalists/ naturopaths/ plant food specialists to create your menu?

Yes, our menu has been elaborated by raw vegan chefs and naturopaths for optimum nutrition but also tried and tested by a bunch of food lovers with an uncompromising palate!

Our recipes are inspired by the seasons, ingredients we believe in, travels we’ve been on and meals we share with friends and family. 

This is my passion and a passion I love to share. I am always on the lookout for new ideas, I meet people who share the same views on food and sustainability.

Your team are enthusiastic and proud of their work, how do you keep them motivated?

We are more a tribe than a team! We got together by passion. There are the people who work in the office, in the restaurants, the nutritionists, the herbalists, the ones into permaculture, the chefs and the gourmands. Everyone has their own ideas they want to share. Our kitchen is not just a cooking hub but also a thinking hub!

What is the secret to creating a space that benefits others?

Think of it as your own home, a place where you feel good, where you want to have your friends and feed them well. And just add plenty of plants, good music and good coffee!

Does the cafe have any sustainability practices in place?

Yes, we are aiming to be a zero waste kitchen. One of our practices for example, is to recycle the pulp of our veggie juices into nutritious prebiotic raw crackers or to get rid of any plastic by using only compostable and bio-degradable containers made of sugarcane.

Do you use fairtrade ingredients at all?

For each of our ingredients, we aim to source 100% organic but it’s often not enough. Each time it is possible we go for local, wild and of course fair for the small producers. The quality of the produce comes from the growing practice and labels are often not enough.

What is your hope for the future of food, diet and consumption as a whole?

Food and diet are one of the biggest issues of our civilisation. At this pace, we won’t be able to feed the biggest part of the population and our soils will be so depleted by conventional agriculture and the use of chemicals and GM species, that little will be left to grow. And this is happening much sooner than we like to think. My hope is that these malevolent practices become forbidden and people who govern us wake up to this pressing issue as so much is at stake. My hope is that we can leave a better planet for our children.

Our recipes also include a few secret ingredients: Love, light, a little Magic…