güdFood, GreatStories. Elevating vegan food in Saskatoon.
The food at güd is the creation born out of a passion for veganism, animal activism, and good food. Chris Cole, the founder of güd eats inc., started his path to veganism in 2010 after getting an intimate look into the food industry—an industry of atrocities—through documentaries such as “Earthlings”, “Cowspiracy”, and “Food Inc.” Seeing statistics like the number of animals slaughtered every year for human consumption, how much waste is produced in meat based food industries, the amount of water consumption, deforestation, ocean acidification and methane produced as a byproduct of the meat industry caused Chris to consider what kind of world would we are creating in order for us to satisfy our cravings. Deciding what we eat is an act that shapes us and all others on this planet. And Chris decided that we could choose kindness over cruelty right here in Saskatoon, with the establishment of a vegan comfort food restaurant.
Chris has spent 18 years in restaurants, running them, opening them, ordering food for them. This work provided him with a front row seat to how the food industry works. “I made the decision to open a vegan comfort food restaurant while working at other restaurants. I was placing all of these huge orders for meat and cheese and the like, and it just didn’t sit right. I was preaching one thing in my personal life and doing something quite different in my professional life. I never ate the stuff, but had to directly support and promote the meat industry through my work.” So, with support from his partners, family, team and friends, the decision was made to offer an alternative, and to bring something different to the table. It started with the idea of opening a food truck in Saskatoon and bringing delicious vegan food to where people are: on the streets and at events.
“I had to play with what I had, and a food truck was the only viable option within my budget. I had money saved up from a plan to go to school in LA. Then, plans changed, and a food truck was the option that I could afford. So we started there, built some capital and ran with it.” There were delays during the first summer and cash flow was tight. So a plan was needed to ensure the survival of the business. As a result, the güd eats inc. restaurant was brought to life! The location was the right place to park the güd food truck for the winter, prep for catering gigs and have a restaurant for people to come in and dine — everything needed at a cost that made sense. Although they went over budget and nearly went broke starting the restaurant, they had the opportunity to spend months in the kitchen perfecting their food. And now they have some incredible offerings!
Chris wanted güd to bring ethics to the food industry, and he was determined to make it happen. Starting a vegan restaurant in an animal agriculture province takes focus and determination. It means getting laughed at by banks because restaurants are high risk enough, let alone vegan restaurants. “I’m a sustainable capitalist,” says Chris, “I want to make a living and make a difference. If the byproduct of what I am doing provides people with a sustainable and ethical option, take some meat off the table, that’s a win. I want to change the perception of eating meat, but also of vegan food.” To do that means not only changing the way food systems operate, but also working with how humans view food. “Now, what are you conditioned to eat, this is the big question. When you’re young, and it’s a birthday party, what is dad making? It’s hot dogs. It’s burgers. There’s a conditioned happy feeling that is tied to those foods. ‘Oh, it’s summertime and nice out?’ ‘I want to have a burger!’ We are not going to fight against that conditioning, but work with it to give people a viable option that still gives them that feeling they had as a kid.” And with the same game plan employed by the nut milk industry—work with what people love—güd’s vegan comfort food was born.
When you look at the güd eats menu, you don’t see the term ‘vegan’ anywhere. “I don’t say vegan burger or veggie burger. I call it a burger or chicken and maybe spell it weird. Why? Because I don’t want people to have to get outside of their comfort zone to eat sustainably.” The game plan at güd is to give you an option that feels normal, tastes normal (better than normal, actually) and is ethical. If you went to a meat-based restaurant and saw fried chicken sandwich, you would just order that because you know what it is, you don’t have to think about it. The team at güd wants you to not have to think about it too. You want a chicken sandwich? They offer a chicken sandwich. It’s just not made with ground up animals. The food at güd eats has just as much protein (if not more), and it’s healthier for you and the planet. That’s the difference. It’s an option you’ll choose because its ethical, it’s healthy and it tastes amazing.
Join us and enjoy some great vegan comfort food at our restaurant, or our food truck!