Emma Moignard grew up in Mornington on a family farm with her father, mother and brother, and at the age of 7, became a vegetarian after walking in on a skinned lamb hanging from the barn roof one afternoon. This was the spark of change for Em, and after qualifying as a chef at the age of 19, created Soulful Vegan Food (SVF). About a stone throw away from where the café sits now, Em’s SVF market stall at the Mornington Wednesday market was a huge success, setting the scene for a more impactful and accessible way of showcasing delicious vegan food with the café’s recent opening.
My name is Emma Moignard! I am a chef currently living in Melbourne Australia. I started my chef apprenticeship at 17 and qualified at 19. I started my business Soulful Vegan Food at 19 with the aim to show that vegan food is delicious and fun. Whilst learning the trade I realised that my morals weren’t aligning with my current profession, having been vegetarian at 7 and then vegan at 17 – cutting and preparing animals was truly awful. I had to finish my training as I didn’t do year 12 and would feel like a complete failure if I didn’t complete my apprenticeship. So with many up and downs I man, aged to finish and began the journey of making market food at the local Wednesday market in my town.
I spoke to my mum one night and said, “I cannot keep working for cafes/restaurants day in and out while feeling sad for the food I was preparing for people”. I started to come up with other ideas of having my passion for animals and profession align. SVF was born and I was super excited to cook happy wholesome food for the local people. The little stall was super popular and had regulars, I couldn’t handle the demand and I was supplying food to a café saying yes to catering jobs all whilst preparing food in my registered kitchen in the garage, the space wasn’t great so I had to think of another way of doing this- a café! The café is on the same street as the market was, just a few metres down. The street is super important to me, I was born in the hospital there and did my markets, and now my first ever café! I opened it with my mum and brother, mum is the front of the house face and my brother was doing coffee, juices and smoothies, it was such a special funny crazy time.