In mid-April 2022, I, Sean Moxie, opened my first restaurant. The Plantenkook in Bremen. Purely vegan, without convenience food. Only homemade, seasonal dishes with local produce. A culinary journey that has only just begun.
With a rustic lunch table that is loved by young and old. And in the evening you can really treat yourself to something in the Plantenköök. A vegan, multi-course high cuisine menu. In addition, the finest charcuterie with homemade vegan cheese, meat or fish specialties.
And so that everyone can afford their stay at Plantenköök, there is always our Soliteller. A filling dish that can be paid for by self-assessment. From two to ten euros. Those who have a lot give a lot and thus finance the Soliteller of others. Who has little gives little. At the moment there is Bremen’s green cabbage as a solitaire. Hearty cooked with grits and vegan “Pinkel” roast. With potatoes on the side.
Now we’ve been open for about 10 months. And the year 2023 has only just begun. It’s been a bumpy journey. In the beginning, the renovation was more difficult than expected, and there were also one or two negative surprises in terms of staff.
And above all, I hardly found any staff in the first few months. I didn’t know Bremen and therefore didn’t have a circle of acquaintances there that I could ask around. So I worked an average of 80-100 hours per week in the first year of Plantenköök.
But it got better and better, there were more and more great guests and more and more competent employee applications. Plantenköök now has a great, mixed team, friendly and always in a good mood.
So it was worth staying strong and building up the Plantenköök.
I wanted to create a place where there are purely plant-based, seasonal dishes with local produce, that are homemade and have a very good ecological balance.
We manage to work minimal waste at Plantenköök . For example, when we change our monthly menu, we don’t even get a small yellow sack full of packaging waste in the kitchen. Vegetable waste is composted and fortunately there is very little residual waste. We manage not to waste food due to our our fresh preparation. Hardly anything is left over. Our employees eat right away what is left or take leftovers home with them. We would also use food sharing, food banks or something similar, but our remaining quantities are far from sufficient for that.
Our team is very diverse and mostly female. Almost only women work in the kitchen. From April I will even be the only man in the kitchen, as our only other male cook will then move away to study. Such a high proportion of women is very unusual for the kitchen. Because while some conservative people may still mistakenly believe that cooking is a woman’s job, it seems that in the professional arena, these same men seem to believe that making money from cooking is a man’s job. Accordingly, my employees can also report bad working conditions in previous jobs, or some no longer wanted to work in the restaurant trade at all, but luckily ended up at Plantenköök.
I try my best to create good working conditions through friendly interaction, above-average payment and flat, friendly hierarchies.
With our dishes we show that contrary to common clichés, vegan cuisine fills you up, is wholesome and healthy and simply tastes delicious.
Many of our customers are not vegan at all, but they are always happy to come back because they get really delicious food from us and leave full and satisfied.
This year a lot will change again in the Plantenköök. Hopefully we will continue to grow and thrive and keep making your mouth water with our great food.
But there is still a lot to do outside of the kitchen. Much of it has been left lying around for a long time, some new things are also on their way.
In general, we want to stock our range at our deli counter better and with more variety. Most recently there was vegan Pinkel, Kassler and smoked ham, and in December our matured, vegan cheese specialties, Carmen Bertie, Blue Pauli and Zicke. Also roulades, roasts, gravy, our vegan Christmas geese and Christmas cookies. Soon there will be a regular range of vegan cheese specialties, meat and fish.
From March on we are going to increase our opening hours. Then we will also be open on Tuesdays, so we will be there for you on 5 days a week. There will also be changing exhibitions by various artists, who fit nicely to the Plantenköök.
In the long term, we want to be open throughout the whole day, without an afternoon break and we’d also like to offer cake.
The signage of the Plantenköök should be improved so that you can find us easier.
And we will keep looking to see where and how we can save even more waste, what we can source even more regionally and ecologically, so that our environmental balance is even more fantastic. But, you can already feast with us with a perfectly clear conscience. Because vegan, regional, seasonal food always has a very good environmental balance.
Doing good while eating is a wonderful thing to do!
And if you are not from Bremen: the city is worthwhile and the Plantenköök is always worth a culinary journey. The ramparts, the imposing old historic town of Bremen, the town musicians, the Schnoor, the river Weser, the Viertel and much more are within walking distance of the Plantenköök.
Here Sean makes traditional Bremen Pinkel (a saucage eaten with kale), of course purely vegan and homemade.