Up Close and Personal: Alice Shopland, Angel Food

“I established Angel Food because I wanted to play a part in making vegan mainstream, and to create products that would enable people to still enjoy their favourite food rituals."

I was new to the food industry so I learned on the job, making lots of mistakes along the way. Obviously I made a lot of good decisions too, because 10 years on, I find myself with staff, distributors, manufacturers and inventory of the great products we’ve developed and which we supply to hundreds of retailers, supermarkets and food service outlets.”

Who is your partner? What do they do?
My husband Colin Woods is doing a Master’s in creative technology at AUT.

Do you have any children/grandchildren?
I have two lovely adult sons, Nico and Mack, and a delicious grandson Orion (3). Thanks to Colin I also have gained three wonderful adult step-kids – Vivika, Naomi, and Jacob – and step-grandkids Felix (3) and baby Astrid.

Your best friend would say of you… I’m pathologically optimistic

Your mother would say of you… I dress like the op shop equivalent of Peta Mathias.

What are your virtues?
Thoughtful, compassionate, animal lover.

Solitaire on the iPad, coffee, red wine, chips.

Who's your ultimate rock icon?
Still David Byrne from Talking Heads, after all these years!

What’s your secret passion?
Soaking in hot pools.

Where do you live?
In a pretty groovy apartment on Symonds St, in an old industrial building.

What's your perfect Sunday?
Lounging around in my fluffy red dressing gown until midday, strolling into town for lunch and a visit to the art gallery.

What were you going to be when you grew up?
A vet. But my mum organised for me to spend a half day at our local vet clinic and I fainted when they started prepping an Alsatian for de-sexing. Fortunately one of the vet nurses caught me before my head hit the concrete floor!

Which is your favourite Ponsonby cafe?
Little Bird Organics

Favourite Ponsonby store?
The Hospice Shop in Three Lamps

Your best kept Ponsonby secret?
Ponsonby Pool Hall

What's inspired you recently?
All the amazing feedback we’ve had from customers about our new vegan cheddar. It’s a reminder of why we love what we do!

The house is on fire and your family is safe - what do you save?
My pounamu from Colin, and my mum’s red glass necklace (which my French great-aunt bought at Galleries Lafayette when she worked there in the 1930s).

One thing you have learned about life is… there’s no shame in making mistakes. What matters is how you handle those mistakes.

Your advice to Ponsonby vegans?
I hope, like me, you feel heartened by the growing vegan movement globally and the fact that so many people are tuning in, dropping out and going dairy free.

Your advice to young Ponsonby people aspiring to work in the vegan food industry?
Go for it – it’s an exciting growth industry! And it feels good to be doing good for a living. Keep up to date with international trends. Be creative, determined and positive.

ANGEL FOOD www.angelfood.co.nz