“Just Like Your Mom, we will take good care of you”
Italy, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Sweden and Germany: the catering Just Like Your Mom, is on the rise and it doesn’t go unnoticed. Whether they are touring with bands, working at festivals or doing backstage catering, they always succeed in providing everyone with the best, most tasty food. And that’s not the only thing, it’s all 100% plant-based as well. Just Like Your Mom is making a huge difference in the contemporary way people at festivals eat. They try to make a difference and make people think about what they actually consume. Besides that, they also show you how easy it is to eat plant-based food.
Just Like Your Mom sells amazing burgers, sausages, kebab, cupcakes and other delicious pastries at festivals and on top of that they also manage to provide the artists and backstage crew with amazing vegan meals. Sometimes they cater up to 3 festivals in Europe at the same time. What is the origin of Just Like Your Mom? It’s a fact that when you are on the road as a band/artist you will get crappy food, even the meat-eaters will. And if you have a gluten, lactose or nut intolerance there isn’t much left to eat. JLYM shows that food on the road doesn’t have to be bad. Along the lines of sustainability, Kuyichi decided to interview this innovative catering company and talked with Sandra and Etjen about food, veganism, sustainability and more.
WHAT MAKES JUST LIKE YOUR MOM A UNIQUE CATERING COMPANY? WHY ARE YOU DIFFERENT THAN ALL OTHER CATERERS?
E: The fact that we are the festival makes us unique. The people performing on the stage, the tour managers, the technicians, they all work with us in the kitchen and that’s why we have a unique collaboration. It’s a logical consequence of the family feeling we try to carry out. We aren’t just a caterer. We are a part of where you are at that moment. We don’t have hierarchic work structures here, if you are going to call me “boss” you can better go home.
S: The diversity of people working with us, but the same-shared idealism makes us unique. We are also one of the few vegan caterers working internationally. For example, we are working at festivals in Sweden. Apparently they don’t have caterers like us closer at home, which is really weird if you think about it. And oh! We have our self-developed, famous and delicious Mom’s Chili burger!
HOW DO YOU SEE THE FESTIVALS CHANGE THE NEXT 10 YEARS?
S: The trend of eating plant-based food is growing fast since a couple of years. Originally, eating vegetarian or vegan was coming from the corner of more idealistic festivals, like the punk/hardcore or the nature/environment movement. Nowadays it’s (finally) becoming more mainstream to eat plant-based, even if you are a meat-eater. And you know what’s really good to hear? “I’m a real carnivore but damn, your burgers are good”.
E: Festivals also try to look at how they can make festivals operate in a more sustainable manner, by selling food that is grown locally or use people’s excreta as manure. I think that’s a really cool development. Also the merchandise at festivals is mostly fair trade nowadays, that used to be different in the past. Everyone is getting more aware of the fact that there needs to change something in this world.
S: Veganism has also to do with fair trade, world trade, chemicals and big multinationals exploiting the country or the local people. For some people veganism is merely a choice about what you can and can’t eat, but it really is about the bigger picture. Veganism is part of a comprehensive ideal.
E: I agree, and I think this trend of eating plant-based food will be reflected at festivals, what normal is for us will become more normal for everybody.
“I’m a real carnivore but damn, your burgers are good”
YOU ARE ON THE ROAD WITH BANDS. HOW DO TOU MAKE SURE YOU STAY SUSTAINABLE?
E: Eating vegan, period. With cutting out dairy products and meat you will save so much more energy. It compensates a whole lot of road and fly trips. We always let the band members eat the food at our stand to show them that what we do and advocate actually makes sense and tastes good.
S: We also support companies like Bite Back, Blackfish, Hardcore Help Foundation, Sea First Foundation, Jakarta Animal Aid Network, Ongehoord. All these organizations have a hands-on mentality that supports sustainability directly or indirectly. The companies don’t necessarily need to relate to veganism, it’s about so much more. We also produce our own carrot bread for the burgers, it’s made from carrot juice and pulp. If we have leftover food we try to recycle as much as possible or we bring it to either a food bank or a local refugee center. If we have bread leftover we use it to make our delicious banana bread, which is really tasty.
ONE OF KUYICHI’S KEY MESSAGES IS ‘GO BEYOND THE ROMANTIC IDEAL. WHAT ARE YOUR IDEALS?
S: This is a hard question for us! We have abandoned the romantic ideal we had 20 years ago a long time ago. There are many things in this world that aren’t right and things we have to stand up and fight for. We can’t wait for other companies or governments to do that for us, it starts with yourself.
E: People who work with us quickly notice how we work. We cook vegan, mostly organic and fair trade. We try to create our own ideal society around us, that’s why people keep coming back to us, they know we are in this together.
S: We are building something for a network and a better world and we want to show that if you want to achieve something, you can do it. No matter how few experience or diplomas you have. If you want to change something in this world, you will have to do it yourself, because otherwise it isn’t going to happen.
E: We are a Rock&Roll caterer, but we also try to be down to earth. At the end of the month we have to pay the bills just like everyone else. We can offer people who pursue their ideals in their private life an income, so they don’t have to give up their ideals or lifestyle.
SO, WE TALKED ABOUT FOOD, BUT WHAT ABOUT OTHER PURCHASES? WHAT ROLE DOES SUSTAINABILITY PLAY IN YOUR OTHER PURCHASES?
S: We do think consciously about most of the things we do in our personal life, so it comes natural to us to do business in the same way. We mostly buy our clothes secondhand or we wear our Fair Trade work clothes. Furniture comes from the secondhand shop and cars are mostly bought secondhand. We also carpool as much possible to festivals and use a carrier bike for transporting stuff at the festival grounds.
E: Just Like Your Mom is also cooperating with Summerlabb, an amazing innovative project from Jan Douwe Kroeske. Summerlab is an itinerant sustainable platform that shows people at festivals and events innovations in the field of sustainability. We want to show people that we can organize this world in another and more sustainable way.
“Music and good food is important for people, if you can combine these things, then you are doing pretty well”
WHAT WILL BE THE UPCOMING EVENT WHERE YOU GUYS WILL BE?
E: We will be at the Milan Design Week and Best Kept Secret. We will also be at Groezrock, a huge festival in Belgium with 40.000 visitors each year. In the beginning of Groezrock you couldn’t even get a proper vegetarian meal. Nowadays, we run the biggest vegan stall of the festival season, with around 80 people working with us to prepare your food fresh. Per minute 6,5 items are being sold, and the queue seems never ending. We find it very important that the food we make is both tasty and of good quality. Good and tasty food is nothing more than a win-win situation.
S: There are many people that had bad experience with plant-based food. We want to show people that plant-based food can be as good as non-plant-based food, or even better.
E: This year we want to give all festivals, including Groezrock, more content and therefore more links between food, music, people and sponsors. For example, we are working towards a collaboration with Oatly, a Swedish oat drink company, to sell oat products at upcoming festivals. Music and good food is important for people, if you can combine these things, then you are doing pretty well. We really try to trigger this.