Interview: Vidushi Binani talks about Transforming London’s Healthy Eating Scene

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Café Volonté’s founder, Vidushi Binani shares her deeply personal journey from battling unhealthy obsessions with food to founding a thriving business dedicated to promoting balance and nourishment.

As you delve into her story, you’ll uncover pivotal moments that inspired her to revolutionise her approach to health and wellbeing. Discover how she seamlessly blends her passion for flavourful cuisine with a commitment to nurturing both body and soul. From prioritising self-care amidst the demands of entrepreneurship to navigating the ever-evolving landscape of wellness trends, Vidushi offers invaluable insights that resonate beyond the realms of business. Join us as we explore personal growth, professional success, and the pursuit of holistic wellbeing. Read on to embark on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment.

Can you share a pivotal moment or experience that inspired you to start your journey in the health and wellbeing industry?

Growing up, I wasn’t a very active person. I am a big foodie, and the love for food started at a young age. But like most children, I too was a fan of junk food. When I went to boarding school, I didn’t quite have the luxuries of eating my choice of food at all times and physical activity was a must. Around my 15th birthday, I decided that I would start to be more active and eat “healthier”, and attempt to lose some kilos. I did so with a lack of patience and no proper research or guidance. Very soon, it went from being a healthier lifestyle, to an extremely unhealthy obsession. It wasn’t until I developed a lot of severe hormonal problems and drove myself to worsening my condition that I realised that I’ve been doing this the wrong way.

When I was on the journey of understanding my body and learning what works for me and what doesn’t, I started to improve my relationship with food once again. I used to enjoy myself and indulge whenever I wanted to, I just made sure that I would do so in moderation instead of restricting myself completely. This is when I started to experiment with healthier cooking methods as I realised that most things that I enjoy eating can probably be made in a less indulgent way without sacrificing on flavour too much. This is what inspired me to learn more about it professionally and enrol into Le Cordon Bleu.


Can you tell us a little bit about your business?

Volonté focuses on providing the pathway for people to make better choices, promoting balance and sharing energy in an inclusive social environment. We want people to have the best possible relationship with food and themselves. We believe one can and should maximise without sacrifice, hence, we curate flavourful dishes while maintaining a balanced nutritional profile, and encourage a full spectrum workout which takes you from sweating to recovery, in a short period of time.

How do you prioritise your own wellbeing while running a business?

I won’t lie, it is very difficult. It used to be a “exercise first thing in the morning person” but now I just try and do even a little bit at any point in the day when I can. My partner got me an Oura ring to help me understand my poor sleep habits (which were not poor at all before Volonté) and high stress levels throughout the day. I am usually not a fan of tracking as it can lead to an obsessive nature, but I have learned to look at it with a positive outlook and use the data it gives me to understand my body better and make little changes in my routine that might help. Honestly – even though I work in wellness, it’s not easy at all to manage stress levels sometimes, but I am learning. I listen to my body more now, attempting to rest when it asks for it. Our bodies give us signals, we just need to watch for them. I adore coffee, but I limit myself to two cups of coffee a day, as no matter what we make ourselves believe, caffeine has an impact on cortisol levels in the body and definitely messes with our recovery sleep cycle.

How has your own health and wellbeing philosophy influenced your business? 

Learning to accept that a sustainable transformation which requires patience and gives slow results is probably the best method if you’re looking for a drastic transformation. To achieve a drastic difference in a short period of time led me to being extreme about my choices, not being able to sustain those choices or giving myself ill health. I think the most important thing I follow and tell people to do as well – is listen to my body. Our bodies are very efficient at giving us signals and symptoms when something is not right. Our minds will try and fight these symptoms and signals if we are dead set on achieving a goal, but doing this will lead to more negative effects in the long run. At Volonté, we want people to have the best possible relationship with food and themselves. No extreme behaviour – enjoy all food groups and types of exercise in balance and in the right portion size. Maximise benefits without sacrificing too much. 

The health and wellbeing industry is dynamic and ever-evolving. How do you stay updated on the latest trends?

I try to read the research behind many of the trends out there before I align myself or Volonté with a new trend. As much as I believe that we need to keep evolving and updating, we can’t do so without proper research and understanding of all the effects of a practice. Social media makes me aware of new trends out there – and I try to find academic papers, or opinions of trusted professionals in the industry to understand as much as I can, before I try the new trend. I also make sure that Volonté is as inclusive as possible, so we also listen to our customers, take their feedback and trend requests into account when launching new dishes and classes.

Have there been moments where you had to make choices that challenged your personal values for the sake of business growth?

This is definitely a struggle I face ever so often. I approach these situations having given myself enough time to think about them, and allowing myself to be flexible with my approach too. I have some core values that I would not go back on just for the sake of the business, but on many occasions I have had to go back and forth with myself. I have also found that talking to my partner, co-founder, and family about these situations helps a lot, and I take their opinions on board as well, taking help to reach a decision when you can’t make it on your own is always a good idea, one should not be shy or embarrassed to ask for help.

Looking back at your journey, is there a particular mistake or setback that taught you valuable lessons about the importance of wellbeing?

I learn from my mistakes everyday, and I still make many. The first lesson I learned was to be okay with making mistakes, and instead of stressing about the mistake that has already been made, I need to calmly think about the solution. All problems and mistakes have a solution and can be fixed, so even though you might make a few losses on the journey, always remember to learn from them instead of cursing yourself constantly. 

Do you have any projects you are currently working on?

We are currently in the process of launching our third site in Spring 2024, and also working on a small line of retail products (our homemade granola being the first), and hopefully grow the line over the next few months and be able to get our ethos around food and wellbeing more well-known. As I get married this year as well, I will try to document moments where I learn how to prioritise my personal health and wellbeing while trying to juggle a growing Volonté, wedding planning and the start of a new chapter in my life. 

Transforming London’s Healthy Eating Scene

Named after the French feminine noun for ‘willpower’, Volonté is more than just a place; it’s a celebration of feminine strength and the belief that true wellbeing flourishes in abundance rather than limitation. Since opening its flagship space on Brompton Road in April 2022 and expanding to the Piccadilly site in September of the same year, Volonté Fitzrovia has become synonymous with its signature dishes like the Chilli Bowl, Whipped Egg Omelette, Bangkok Bowl, and collagen Kinder Bueno smoothie. Now, as it prepares to unveil its newest location on 10 Mortimer Street on April 22, 2024, Volonté Fitzrovia continues its mission to redefine the local food and fitness scene. With a nutritionist-approved menu of grab-and-go delights and a studio space offering yoga, Pilates, and meditation, this wholesome haven aims to nourish both body and soul. At the heart of Volonté’s philosophy is inclusive wellbeing, reflected in every meticulously crafted dish that boasts high-quality macro and micro-nutrients. Co-founder Vidushi Binani, a judge for prestigious awards like the Great Taste Awards and the Great British Food Awards, brings her expertise from London’s esteemed Le Cordon Bleu to ensure that each bite is not only delicious but also sustainably sourced and seasonally inspired.

Volonté Fitzrovia, 10 Mortimer Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T3JJ.

The post Interview: Vidushi Binani talks about Transforming London’s Healthy Eating Scene appeared first on Wellbeing Magazine.

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