When Ella Craske started up Bells Bowls during lockdown she had no idea it would take off so fast.
Inundated with orders for her poke bowl style takeaway food, Ella is currently looking for a cafe of her own, and hopes to secure a premises in Witney within the next few weeks.
“I’ve been talking about doing this for years so started it as a lockdown project while I was on furlough from The Hollybush in Witney to see whether it would take off, a test run if you like,” she says.
“But the response has been so amazing that now I’m now looking for my own premises. Opening a cafe of my own has always been a dream of mine so fingers crossed, but hopefully I’ll have some news in the next few weeks.”
“leaving The Hollybush to work full-time on Bells Bowls was a really big decision because its such an amazing pub but I needed to open my own place”
Her bowl based concept food is based on Hawaiin poke bowls, but Ella developed all the recipes herself at home in Witney and initially tried them out on her friends.
She then launched an initial menu of four dishes (chicken, salmon, prawns and tofu) on social media and has been rushed off her feet ever since.
“The feedback has been amazing. It’s been a dream come true. I knew it was a good idea but everyone else agreeing has been amazing,” the 29 year-old says.
“Fast food can be healthy and delicious and I think that’s why Bells Bowls has been so popular”
So where does Ella get her inspiration from? “I’ve travelled a lot, so while I’m self taught I’ve taken notes and recipes from all over the world. For me it’s been about balancing the flavours.”
Ella’s family is in hospitality – her grandparents ran the Chequers in Witney until this year – and having worked at Soho Farmhouse and The Hollybush, she is already well versed in the food industry.
“Deciding to leave The Hollybush to work full-time on Bells Bowls was a really big decision because its such an amazing pub, and Luke and Alex (the landlords) are such a great team, but I needed to concentrate on me and open my own place,” she says.
So what will the new cafe entail? “I want to produce cold press juices and smoothie bowls as well as what we do now, and introduce weekly specials to add to our menu.”
So why has her food been such a big hit? “It’s quite different to any other food concepts around here and Witney is having a real food revival at the moment, but people have also jumped at the chance to eat something that’s tasty but good for you.
“Fast food doesn’t need to be unhealthy. It can be healthy and delicious and I think that’s why Bells Bowls has been so popular. Because feeding yourselves with the right nutrients and vitamins is like medicine. People don’t realise how much you can look after yourself by eating the right food.
“It’s something I’m really passionate about so it feels like I’ve tapped into something at just the right time.”
For more details or to order a delivery go to https://bellsbowlswitney.co.uk