Shawn Forde passionate about cooking and environment

“Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher” –

English Poet, Williams Wordsworth 
For most of us, we take our environment for granted. Yet, there is Shawn Forde, a young man who sees great promise in the simple lessons nature teaches us. The Green Eco-Cafe & Juice Bar which is located on the front lawn of the McGill University’s Bellairs Research Institute is where Shawn, like an architect, creates delicious and healthy eco-friendly meals and beverages for his clients as well as maintains the cafe’s nursery and surrounding kitchen garden.  
Shawn, a self-confessed foodie is passionate about cooking and the environment and it is clear when one visits his business.   Creative and talented, Shawn spoke to Business Monday about his passion for food, his journey to Bellairs Research Institute and his vision for The Green Eco-Cafe. 
A True Foodie
Shawn loves cooking and good food and his passion is evident in the kitchen. When this publication visited him, Shawn was preparing an aromatic and most popular dish called Beta soup. It is a combination of fresh spices like ginger and tumeric, squash, carrot, almond milk and split peas.  He admits that his inspiration has been due to his past experiences and travels, drawing on the flavours of West and East Africa, South Asia, Caribbean and Indian cooking and what is different about his cooking is his ability to fuse varied flavours together.  
“When ever I travel I often seek out smaller, family type restaurants over fast food (establishments),” said Shawn. 
It is this model which Shawn has adopted for his business. It has intimacy and utilises mostly natural materials in its furnishings. Keeping in theme with its name, from the kitchen counters to the flooring, most of the materials used have “repurposed or recycled”.
Shawn explained that the area allocated for the cafe was originally for a greenhouse. However, with the help of carpenters, Shawn transformed the area into a present day eco-cafe.
A Green Idea
At age 37, Shawn has been able to make one of his dreams a reality. In 2014, Shawn explained that he visited the Bellairs Research for a presentation and though the surrounding grounds would have been ideal for his eco-cafe. The business officially opened in October, 2015 and like its name tries to adhere to a green environment. 
“(Eco-cafe) is plugged into the (Bellairs Institute’s) power supply. Twenty percent of their power comes from photovoltaic cells,”  said Shawn. 
The cuisine served at the eco-cafe consists of vegetarian dishes and beverages made from organic and mostly locally grown produce.  Some of his menu items include soups, salads, stews, health shakes, smoothies, juices and teas. Also, the business produces little to no waste as all of the scraps from the fruits and vegetables are used as compost in his garden. 
Growing The Business
Shawn admits that the reception this Eco-cafe has been positive and encouraging and though it in its infancy, the future of the business is bright.  With a background in arts, theatre and stage design, the University of the West Indies & Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts graduate envisions making the eco-cafe into a hub of creative expression.   With the spacious grounds, Shawn intends on building a small stage and expanding the seating area for his clients.  Focus on being a economical and environmental sustainable business, Shawn would like to see more people visit and learn more about eco-business like his. 
About the Bellairs Research Institute in Barbados 
In 1954, The McGill University’s Bellairs Research Institute was opened.  The facility is located near Folkestone Beach St. James.  The institute has large wet and dry labs, holding tanks, a small library and a commercial kitchen.  Some of the energy used by the facility is from solar energy and the grounds features a solar fountain.  Over the years, students have participated in a number of projects relating to the preservation of the islands’ natural flora and fauna, coastal and marine environment. 

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