Q&A with Marion Flipo, Creation Director of Cojean
On sustainable sourcing, the season's best ingredients and what makes Cojean a good B Corp
We sit down with Marion Flipo, Creation Director of B Corp certified café chain Cojean.
Q&A with Marion Flipo, Creation Director of Cojean
How did you end up working with Cojean?
I used to be a loyal client to Cojean, always following the new seasonal menus and most of the updates the brand would do. Cojean is famous for its strong commitment to taking care of people, and that always inspired me.
Cojean reached out to me in 2019. At that time, I had my food consultancy agency and would have immediately said yes to an opportunity with them. However, when I met with the president, the project turned out to be way bigger than I expected. The brand director had left the company, leaving a blank page for me to make my mark. I took it as a challenge, knowing my food identity and my passion for tracking the best quality and innovative ingredients could match.
Has Cojean changed since you joined as Creation Director?
Anyone who comes in with a creative job makes things change. I’m in charge of designing and creating the menu for France and the UK, and I put a lot of my identity in there. Those who know me the best would tell you they recognise my food.
Describe Cojean in three words.
Body. Mind. Nature. We like to say:
- Give the body the best of care through healthy ingredients with real nutritional value, so that you physically develop and grow in a dynamic and healthy way.
- Give the mind the best of care with healthy food that enables you to take care of yourself and those around you.
- Give nature the best of care through responsible sourcing, sustainable growing practices and dedication to protecting the world around us.
What’s your food philosophy?
You are what you eat. Take care of what is on your plate and feed your body with the best. I eat healthy – not boring – good food. It must be tasty, satisfying, good for you. Although I also have junk on special occasions or when I feel I need it. But being healthy most of the time and passionate about activities like sport and yoga creates a good balance.
What’s the most memorable meal you’ve created?
At Cojean, definitely the blue moon chia pudding. It’s a blue dessert made with what we call ‘blue matcha, which comes from blue flower petals.
What goes into creating a sustainable (and tasty) dish?
Sourcing comes first. With good ingredients, most of the work is already done. We love to meet the growers, those who are at the root of everything. Speaking with them and knowing their values is also a good source of inspiration. You don’t want to destroy what they aim to do. Then, tasting the best match for each ingredient is key, as well as a good seasoning and a respectful way to cook what you have.
Which in-season ingredients are you obsessed with right now?
Asparagus! They just arrived and they don’t need a lot of added flavourings for me. Just steam cook with some brown butter, a ton of herbs, a zest of lemon and some roasted almonds. Then give me a good slice of bread and I am the happiest.
What sustainable practices do you employ at Cojean?
Our approach can be split into two concepts. First, we care for people: an integration of all (including support for employees with disabilities), versatile and autonomous teams (100 per cent of restaurant managers are promoted internally), open to the world (employees span more than 50 nationalities from five continents) and redistribution of unsold products.
Second, we care about we care of what you eat and drink. For example, our specialty coffee is organic and Fairtrade (harvested by a group of women emancipating themselves through this work), our seasonal soups are made with 100 per cent organic vegetables, our juices and cereals are also completely organic, our eggs are free range, our fish come from sustainable fisheries and responsible aquaculture and at Cojean France our chia seeds and quinoa are locally sourced rather than imported from South America. There is so much more to say!
What makes Cojean an effective B Corp?
We like to say ‘we are not perfect but we are working on it’ to say that we always try to do better. It’s an everyday challenge. One thing is sure, we do what we say, and we like to fight greenwashing.
Can you tell us a bit about Cojean’s work with Nourrir Aimer Donner?
Cojean helped create Nourrir Aimer Donner in 2011. The foundation’s aim has always been to bring food and water to people that need it. We’ve worked on worldwide projects in the past, but after noticing how much is going on around us we’ve started to work with more local areas. We have a strong rendezvous in the year, and we have a Winter Socks campaign which, for every soup bought on a Monday during wintertime, donates a pair underwear to a homeless person in Paris.
You can keep up with Marion on her Instagram account, @marionflipo, and see her creations at cojean.co.uk
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