While travelling around the world for eight years, Marissa Bergeron said her favourite thing to do was go into each new city and try different food trucks and street vendors.
However, as time went on, Bergeron said she became aware of something all the vendors had in common — waste.
“There’s always styrofoam container, there’s always a plastic cup or whatever that you’re throwing out, literally, five minutes after its use.”
So as Bergeron continued travelling the world as a flight attendant, she began brainstorming what would eventually become Eat the Dishes.
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Eat the Dishes will be making an appearance at the Kwantlen St. Winter Market this Saturday from 11am-3pm!🌱 Come for our Rockin’ Moroccan Soup and stay for the live music, amazing vegan tamales from @micasamexicana.yvr and delicious vegan and gluten free baked goods from @everkindkitchen We can’t wait to meet you! ❤️🍅👩🏻🍳🌱 #eatthedishes #savethefishes #vegan #plantbased #zerowaste #streetfood #vegansofvancouver
“I came up with this concept that you don’t have to throw anything out. You just have to eat it and then you’re done with it,” Bergeron said.
Eat the Dishes uses “a basic recipe, kind of like a pizza dough,” as its soup bowls, Bergeron said.
Shaped like a cup, she said, the dough uses different spices and herbs based on which types of soups will be served.
Bergeron, who had been living in Dubai for eight years, said she moved back to Surrey in March of 2018 and “kind of came up with the concept (for Eat the Dishes) around then.”
“That was the first drop in the bucket, so it’s just been going ever since then.”
It wasn’t a quick process though, Bergeron said.
When asked what kind of work went into creating the cups, Bergeron said, “Oh my god, way too much.”
Bergeron said the first iteration of Eat the Dishes “looked more like an ice cream cone.” She said in China, there are machines that make “pizza cones,” which gave her the idea that a savoury food could be served in cones.
“From there I discovered a man in Winnipeg who made edible espresso cups (with flat bottoms), which ultimately led me to work with a company in Europe who created my bread machine.”
She said she was part of a nine-week incubator program with Simon Fraser University that helped take the idea and “bring it to life.”
But how many tries to did it take to create a dish that the soup wouldn’t seep through?
“We did a lot of testing. We did, what we like to call, the ‘hot coffee test,’ so we would build these cups and pour boiling hot coffee in them and time how long it would take for the cups to soak through, and finally when we got it to about two hours, we were very happy with that,” she said.
“But that took more months than I would like to admit.”
It was also during her time with SFU that she worked through all of the necessary steps to open a small business.
“From coming up with an idea, turning it into a business plan, finding our target market, creating a minimum viable product, to product testing and customer feedback.”
Eat the Dishes was one of the vendors at the first Kwantlen St. Winter Market and Food Truck Festival on Jan. 12.
The soups Eat the Dishes serves at the markets, Bergeron said, are “always seasonal.”
“Right now we’re doing just one soup per event, but eventually we’ll like to have two different soups at each event.”
Bergeron said she hopes to be at Kwantlen Polytechnic University most Saturdays with Eat the Dishes.
She said to find out which days they will be at the market, visit Eat the Dishes on their social media platforms: Facebook and Instagram.
The winter market runs Saturdays until June 29, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Surrey KPU campus (12666 72nd Ave.).
For more info on the market, visit kwantlenstmarket.ca.
Bergeron, a KPU grad herself, worked with the Kwantlen Student Association when she was at the university, but she said she didn’t remember having anything similar to the Kwantlen St. Winter Market and Food Truck Festival. But she added she “absolutely” would have been interested in taking part during her time at KPU.
For more info on Eat the Dishes, visit eatthedishes.com.