Verity Bowditch and Mikey Pearce (Credit Linda Blacker)
YouTuber Mikey Pearce and Made in Chelsea star Verity Bowditch have joined forces to create a plant-based restaurant chain.
The Clean Kitchen Club, which was founded by Mikey in 2020, is a plant based restaurant which currently has four stores open across London.
After Mikey’s YouTube career started to head down a “slippery slope”, he switched from being a meat eating YouTuber to a plant-based restaurant owner.
“I actually put on a lot of weight whilst being a YouTuber, so I went down to Brighton for lockdown and I basically thought, well I want to get in shape,” Mikey told National World.
“One of the main things I did was a plant based diet. I cut out red meat, I cut down a lot of meat, I ate a little bit of fish. But I actually had a lot of these plant based meat substitutes so my mum would make me spaghetti bolognese with quorn.
“Well if I’m eating this stuff, it’s really really cool and I think there is a lot of opportunity to start a brand.”
Mikey’s initial idea was a plant based meat brand, but he instead went for a Deliveroo only vegan restaurant because it “links plant based food to the mainstream market”.
The Deliveroo idea soon turned into a chain of stores across London as Mikey discovered that“there is an appetite for plant based food at the moment”.
The Clean Kitchen Club, which has the motto “we’re 100% plant based so you don’t have to be”, currently has stores in Camden, Notting Hill, Wembley and Soho.
In October, its fifth and biggest store is set to open at Battersea Power Station - in a brand new £9 billion mall development.
The Battersea Power Station chain will be serving food alongside alcoholic shakes, smoothies and cocktails - and Mikey wants people to “think of it as a healthier McDonald’s with a bar”.
Mikey’s business partner is vegan Made in Chelsea star Verity Cowditch.
He told how they started working together, saying: “We met for the first time at a party in between the two lockdowns, and she is vegan and she’s got a good following.
“We sort of got chatting about the brand that I created in Brighton, and I just said ‘look I’m looking for someone to join the journey and I’ve always thought I need to have a business partner on this who is actually vegan and is completely sustainable.’”
Mikey’s ambitions for the Clean Kitchen Club are large, as he plans to “rival the big boys such as McDonald’s and Pret”.
The former YouTuber also wants to expand his brand into the US, he adds: “I’ve always wanted to live in New York for a bit”.
Mikey claims 80% of customers who visit his stores are not vegans, which is something he anticipated with his mission - which is to “make vegan food accessible”.
He explained that many people have misconceptions about the vegan diet, thinking that it’s just “leaves”.
He said: “A lot of people think it’s leaves, but we don’t do any of those dishes - we do the katsu curry and the burgers.
“We utilise the plant based meat substitutes which are just as good. They are cruelty free and they are healthier for you.”
The Clean Kitchen Club now has over 80 staff and a number of famous investors including social media influencer Grace Beverly, Made in Chelsea’s Spencer Matthews and singer Conor Maynard.
However, starting a new business in the midst of a global pandemic was not easy.
Mikey said: “It has been the hardest two years I’ve ever had to go through. Everyday you are just trying to deal with an issue.”
Food and drinks from the Clean Kitchen Club are still available to order via Deliveroo, and they also offer outside catering.