Updated: Jan 11
We recently had a sit-down with the owners of TerraZen Centre to understand what drives them and how they became the first vegan-only restaurant in Amsterdam.
Co-owner Sw. Izaba has been 100% vegan since 1973! The realization that he wanted to become vegan was when he was meditating during a full moon overlooking the Jamaican Blue Mountain. At the time there were very little vegan diet options available and the journey was not easy.
"When you make a decision like that, the consequences are some anti-social behaviour from people who are predominantly eating flesh"
Sw. Izaba does not only eat vegan but also tries to stay away from processed foods with artificial flavouring, he tends to eat maybe one or two vegan candy bars per year! "I'm reaching for light so, in order to do that, I do not put the heavy foods into my system. That is why I eat pure foods that do not weigh heavy on my body"
Before moving to Amsterdam, Sw. Izaba had been living in Japan for 25 years where he met his wife. They moved to Amsterdam together in 2011, initially, they lived in Baarn. When visiting Amsterdam they were frustrated by the limited choice of vegan-friendly restaurants. "There were some vegetarian restaurants but no vegan options and that is what inspired us to start our vegan-only restaurant"
"I like to believe that we inspired the other restaurants that followed us"
After TerraZen Centre opened its doors in April 2011 many other vegan restaurants followed over the years. "People started to visit us and order some takeout so that they could see how to cook and present the food for inspiration". Our kitchen is inspired by both the Jamaican and Japanese cuisine, we like to make traditional dishes but vegan. We are the only vegan Jamaican - Japanese restaurant, that is why it is important we set the standard high. It is important to inspect every dish before it is served to ensure quality.
If you would like to become vegan what advice would you have for them? "To start off it can be best to try the imitation meat to transition and then find their own balance with what works for them".
Working with SwapBox is a big welcome for us, sustainability is very important to us. With the pandemic, we are shifting to a new reality with more takeaway and delivery. This will result in more waste and SwapBox is the perfect solution for this problem, and it is free for our guests to use. This is what separates SwapBox apart from other sustainable packaging companies.