By Patrick Laverick

A 25-year veteran of the hospitality industry, Pasha Fate has opened up a new cafe on Pako that serves only plant-based food. Voice on Pako sat down with him on opening day to talk about Pasha’s passion for healthy food.

It’s your first day in Pako, how has it been going so far?
We’ve had quite a few people through the door, more than we expected, so we’re very happy. We did a soft opening, we didn’t create too much noise, because you want to get everything ready and there’s always little creases to iron out. For what we’ve put out there, we’re very happy today.

Why did you pick Pakington Street for your business?
Out of all of Geelong, it has the feel we wanted, it had the crowd we were after and it’s the cafe capital of Geelong. If you’re going to do something, especially something different like this, you’ve got to pick somewhere like this with the foot traffic and has the exposure. The rest of Geelong is good, but this is the spot for a place like ours.

What got you into selling vegan products?
Becoming vegan – or plant based – myself. I’ve been in hospitality for about 25 years and I had lost my passion for the industry, especially after turning vegan three years ago. I got to a point about six months ago where I couldn’t go into work anymore, it just bothered me too much and it was not a good way to be. That’s what made me get into selling plant-based food, I found a passion for food again, a passion for serving people healthy food.
Our store sells plant-based products, we don’t call it vegan. It almost feels like it’s become like a cult and that’s not what we’re about, it’s not how I see the movement and so we don’t really use that word in here, we just say plant-based. We want to be approachable by everyone, our intention is to make light of the situation, make it fun, try and attack people’s tastebuds and make them healthier without them even realising it. Veganism saved our life, we were very sick, that’s what’s driving us to sell this food.

What made you move to Geelong?
I was living in the Yarra Valley at the time and started looking for a vegan job. I didn’t want to live in Melbourne, it’s too congested, too saturated. We knew the owners of Dolly’s Sister, the other vegan place in Geelong. They needed someone, so we made the move three months ago and stumbled across this place by accident.

Are people becoming more conscious about the things they’re eating?
Oh yeah. Just looking at the changes in the last three years, which is how long we’ve been vegan, you notice it. We were living in the Otways at the time and we would look for places in Geelong to eat and there’s a big difference since then. Everyone’s got options now, back then they didn’t have options.

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