A Sense of Tranquility in the Middle of Bustling North Vancouver: Welcome to TAO Organics
Nestled in the middle of Esplanade and 1st, is the family owned TAO Organics serving healthy and yet delectable plant cuisine.
It was founded by Agathe Mathieu back in 2012.
Cooking from scratch has always been a love of Mathieu’s, growing up in a family who never purchased things off the shelf just to warm them up.
They didn’t even own a microwave.
This love of cooking was enhanced when she was raising her three children, wanting to inspire a love of healthy food in them and a love to create something delicious from basic food items.
But it was when her friend suggested 12 Steps to Raw Foods: How to End Your Dependency on Cooked Food by Victoria Boutenko, that her love of raw foods began.
“I read the book and she said to eat nuts and foods and seeds and fruits and vegetables, and I thought, ‘I can try that’ and being the person who I am, I dove into this 100%,” Mathieu said. “So I stopped whatever I was doing and went all raw and in three months, my arthritis was resolved, the floaters in my vision were gone, the rashes on my face gone.”
She has now eaten raw for 16 years.
The Beginning of TAO Organics
In 2003, Mathieu ran a small group co-op at home where around 15 families would come and eat.
They all told her to open up a restaurant, but she didn’t think she was ready at the time.
It wasn’t until 10 years later that she felt ready to open her own restaurant, a move she said was more welcomed given people were open to eating raw foods. She named the restaurant TAO Organics.
“When I opened the restaurant, my vision right from the beginning was never to own a cafe, but the vehicle for people to be able to incorporate this food into their life,” Mathieu said.
And that’s exactly what she’s doing. What’s unique about TAO Organics is that people have the option to eat in the cafe, buy ingredients – sold at the cafe – and assemble their meal at home or make the meal from scratch using recipes from TAO’s website using cooking ingredients also available at the cafe.
“We share all of our recipes and we have the ingredients available to make these delicious dishes, someone who comes in and enjoys what they have and wants to make it, they can.”
Food that Makes you Feel Good
At TAO Organics, everything is cooked under 115 degrees so the enzymes stay alive.
“When you eat the food, it nourishes you and has what is required to be helpful to your body, it doesnt use your own reserve of enzymes,” Mathieu said. “That’s why they call it live food.”
At 115 degrees, the water is taken out, but everything else remains.
“When you eat food that is packed with nutrients, then your body has what it requires to self heal.”
And that’s exactly what happened with Mathieu, her daughter and her two sons.
Her middle son had a rash behind his legs, her youngest son suffered from hyperactivity, her daughter had a skin issue so bad her neck looked like a cat used it as a scratching post. Each of these issues were resolved once they started eating raw.
And spreading this knowledge is Mathieu’s passion.
“I want to pass on the knowledge in a successful way, such as with the recipes, you will have the same results I do, so we’re not hiding anything,” Mathieu said. “If you love it and it’s delicious here, it’s going to be delicious at home.”
“The reason behind everything we do here is to pass on the knowledge and see more people – and more children – healthy.”
And when people bring up common concerns such as how is this diet balanced? Where does one get their protein? Will children grow and develop normally? Mathieu brings up animals.
“An elephant feeds only on grass, so how can it grow to be so big and so muscular? And the gorilla? The cow? Could it be possible that protein from plant sources could also do a great job?”
“I can certainly say that keeping to my beliefs and a raw vegan cuisine has made me the healthy person I am today. You can change too – I am the walking proof of it!”
A Sense of Camaraderie Through the Chamber
As members of the North Vancouver Chamber for the last four to five years, Mathieu has seen her experience as giving her a chance to meet local businesses.
“It creates a link between the businesses and a sense of camaraderie,” Mathieu said specifically referencing the Annual Business Excellence Awards. “Everytime I’m there, the pleasure, the happiness to see the recognition of another business and the support between businesses is beautiful.”
Events such as the Annual Business Excellence Awards and the Business After Five Networking Event create a link between local companies.
“The events the Chamber puts on are awesome because we get to meet other businesses, if not for the Chamber it would be hard to do this because we are all busy. But during these events, we get to take a little break.”
When asked if she would encourage other businesses to join the Chamber, she answered before the question was finished.
Everyone is Family at TAO Organics
With close to seven years under her belt as the owner of TAO, there are many moments that have stuck with Mathieu
“There’s quite a few, but my favourite is someone will come here with a friend, the friend has never had any of this,” Mathieu said gesturing to the healthy food options around her. “They start to eat it and as they are eating they say, ‘Wow, my body feels so happy, I don’t know how to explain it, but I just feel so happy,’ people really feel the difference.”
Mathieu also talked of seeing families grow.
“It’s beautiful, the parents who come here with their children, they will come when they’re pregnant and they keep coming as the child is growing and you look at them and they are full of energy, true health and happiness.”
And this is exactly what Mathieu has been trying to establish at TAO Organics, a sense of family.
“We learn names and learn orders to make this an even more personal experience,” Mathieu said. “It’s a family.”