deliciously ella is a plant-based food & wellness platform sharing delicious ways to feel better. Starting from a recipe website, the business has evolved into a restaurant, a range of plant-based food products, an app, a collection of bestselling recipe books, a podcast, and a growing social media community that sits at the heart of what we do.
I started deliciously ella back in 2012 whilst I was still at university. In 2011, I had been diagnosed with a condition called postural tachycardia syndrome, as well as ehlers-danlos and mast cell activation disorder, following four months in and out of hospital. The condition affected the workings of my autonomic nervous system – I couldn’t control my heart rate and blood pressure properly, while also struggling with digestive issues, chronic fatigue, a series of infections and a whole host of other symptoms. I was prescribed a cocktail of medication, but unfortunately, they had limited success in managing the condition and after about a year I hit rock bottom, both physically and mentally.
At this point, I started looking into other ways of managing the condition and began researching whether a change in diet and lifestyle may be able to help.
Encouraged by stories I read, I decided to turn to a whole foods, plant-based diet, and overhauled my lifestyle. I had three major obstacles at this point though: 1) I couldn’t cook; 2) I had no idea how to make plant-based recipes; and 3) I had lost all of my sense of drive. I decided the way to combat all three issues was to start a diary of my culinary experiments, pushing myself to try new things in the kitchen each day and rediscover a sense of creativity. I did this online through my website deliciouslyella.com.
deliciously ella was originally intended to be a personal project, a way to encourage myself to fall in love with plant-based food and make healthy eating delicious.
From day one I knew that I never wanted to compromise on taste – flavour, abundance and excitement had to sit at the heart of every meal. Over the next year I learnt to cook, photograph, and document what I was creating, and quickly found a deep passion for the incredibly positive impact that natural, plant-based food was having on my health. Initially I’d only intended to write for myself, but after some persuasion I shared deliciously ella with friends and family, and we grew from there, somehow accumulating over 130 million hits within the next few years.
A year after I started sharing my recipes on deliciouslyella.com, I launched our social media platforms before moving into hosting supper clubs and teaching cooking classes, which funded the development of my first commercial venture: the deliciously ella app. The original app, to my huge surprise, went straight to #1 in food & drink on the UK app store, solely thanks to the support of our online community, and that set the foundations for where we are today.
Following the launch of the app, I was approached to write a cookbook. My first book was published in January 2015 and became the best-selling debut cookbook of all time in the UK. This was the turning point for our company, taking deliciously ella from a small online community into something beyond my wildest expectations.
I met my now husband, and our CEO, Matt, shortly after my first book was published, and we started talking about taking deliciously ella further. We wanted to share, on scale, the benefits we had experienced from plant-based food and greater focus on holistic wellness. Matt had worked in finance and corporate development, and we decided to join forces to start a family business.
Our first venture was opening a cafe in London, so that we could bring our food to life and create a space for our community to enjoy. We knew we wanted to bring what we were doing to a wider audience though, as we wanted make delicious plant-based food even more accessible. So, shortly after opening our cafe, we set about starting the larger, and most effective way of reaching the most people possible, which was to launch our food product.
Our first product was our energy balls, which we were able to get listed in around 6,000 stores across the UK and Ireland, with customers including Waitrose, Starbucks, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Holland and Barrett, Whole Foods and lots more. We have since launched a line of breakfast cereals, oat bars, caramel cups, chocolate bars, nut butter balls, frozen desserts, and with lots more to come.
We’re only getting started on our journey, but our core purpose has remained the same from when i wrote my first recipe, which is to share delicious ways for people to feel better. It gave me my life and health back, and I know we can help millions more too.