We talk wholesome food, nutrition and the benefits of a refreshing detox with Stephen and Jenny Connolly of The Lo-Cal Kitchen.
Tell us a little about your background and how you came to establish The Lo-Cal Kitchen.
We are a husband and wife team. We studied engineering and interior architecture in college, started out in the building industry, worked on a few cafes and restaurants and gained an interest in them. Then Jen went on to study nutrition and Steve pursued his keen interest in coffee. We devised a menu and a concept with these two things at the forefront. The main aim was to provide good wholesome food without the guilt that is normally attached and also provide clean treats and really good coffee outside the city center.
Your menu is focused on healthy eating with a strong emphasis on low calorie and high protein meals. Tell us more about your philosophy and how you source your ingredients.
I would say our emphasis is based more on nutrition than low calorie. We try to keep all dishes below 500 cals because that is typically sufficient for a meal, but we encourage more calories for different people and different reasons. The calories on the menu are simply there to help someone who is possibly following a calorie-controlled diet. We don’t focus on high protein meals at all.
Some of our dishes have a high protein, some are high fat, and some are high carbs. Our focus has been to keep the dishes balanced nutritionally. Some of our customers increase their macros by adding extra protein or carbs to their dishes.
Talk to us about your menu. What are your own favourite things to eat on it?
I would have to say the pancakes because they’re filling, nutritious and the whole family enjoy them. You can mix and match the toppings to suit everyone. They taste fantastic, fluffy and indulgent and the option to have a half portion or add things like turkey bacon is good too!
The beginning of January tends to be a time when people begin to set healthy food goals for the year ahead. How do your detox offerings help with that?
We tend to embark on a detox ourselves at the end of December or the beginning of January. It’s a great way to kick start a healthier diet after indulging over the festive period. We encourage fresh air, meditation and general self care along with the detox and people generally feel revived, energized and clarified both physically and mentally following it. It’s not the most appealing thing after enjoying all the treats over Christmas but it is just a few days and how you feel after it is worth it.
We don’t focus on starving during this detox. We encourage snacking on veggies and nuts if you feel too hungry but most of the time people just need to drink more water! The detox was designed to refresh not starve.
Tell us about your latest venture?
We have just opened The Little Lo-cal in the new Lidl neighborhood in Castleknock village where we offer sandwiches and some of our dishes from The Lo-cal Kitchen, as well as our delicious coffee and treats. In the evenings from Thursday-Sunday The Little Lo-cal transforms into Beau-Vino wine bar where we have a large selection of delicious wines both on tap and bottled. We have cheese and charcuterie where you can have a cheese and meat board, or you can have smaller plates which we have combined and paired with wines. A lovely option for pre or post night out or just a little nibble while you enjoy the wine!
Healthy takeaway meals and catered events are becoming more popular now. Can you say a bit more about how your service works?
Ordering can be done online or over the phone and menus are available on our website www.thelo-calkitchen.ie. Again our food is quite wholesome so we are a good option for catering or take-away as you will feel fuller for longer.