Vegan Ireland speaks with Moodley Manor’s co-founder, Aisling Mooney. Moodley Manor is a vegan company from Dublin.

Please tell us about Moodley Manor. When did it begin and what motivated you to start this business?

Moodley first started as a concept between myself and Gavyn. Moodley is an amalgam of our names (I’m Mooney and he’s Pedley). We knew soon after we met that we’d work together one day. Actually, after our first conversations, after discovering I was vegan he asked me if I missed bacon and of course, that’s the one thing I hadn’t found a decent replica for. He promised me that one day he’d become a food scientist and make it for me.

Moodley Manor interview

A little after we first met and Gavyn was still an omnivore, he grew more and more frustrated by not being able to take me out to dinner. Everytime I was left with a salad and chips option, he grew more determined to find a way to have a nice dinner out with me.

So, Moodley sprung out of his want to make me, his girlfriend happy. Not long after he became vegan himself after many debates, discussions and endless vegan cook-offs. We’re both avid cooks and we liked to play ‘can’t cook, won’t cook’ with whatever random ingredients we could get our hands on.

We first wanted to create a vegan cheese that melted perfectly on pizza which we could supply to restaurants, pizzerias and shops. We’ve come very close to perfecting it! That’s going to be released in the near future. In the meantime Gav was working away, developing new and exciting ways to replicate meats that he missed as a newer vegan. We created so many from bacon, burgers, sausages, fillets, nuggets and we knew we had to make them available to everyone. The first time I tasted the bacon I realised how far from the maple and smoky flavours I missed, the options available were.

And here we are … two vegans, making bacon and burgers and after a lot of research, development and trials Moodley Manor is sharing them with Ireland.

Can you tell us more about your two new products, Boss Burger and Badass Bacon? Where can we buy them? Can they be ordered outside Ireland? Do you plan to sell them in shops in the near future for those who cannot order online?

The Boss Burgers and Badass Bacon are the first two products we are releasing with more to come later this year such as Flirty Fillets, ‘Narly Nuggets, Sizzling Sausages etc. They are both high in protein and very low in carbohydrate and based around wheat gluten as the primary ingredient, mixed in with very special flavours and hand-picked ingredients.

We wanted to get our products out to the lovely vegans and vegetarians of Ireland as soon as possible and we just launched our online shop where customers can buy directly for delivery to their door. We are delivering each of this first batch ourselves in person.

We are in negotiations with some supermarket retailers and also independent health food shops for nationwide distribution later this year and every product purchased now gets us there quicker.

For anyone who would like our products but cannot order online we are very happy to take orders over the phone on 087-933 8799 and 086-1981 654 and we can arrange alternative ways to pay and get their Moodley Meats delivered.

That sounds very exciting. It would be great to have your products in supermarkets! Having read Gav’s Why Vegan Story on your website, he comes out as a strong ethical vegan, and you also seem to be. What would you say to vegans who oppose plant-based foods that replicate the texture and taste of animal products?

It really is so exciting. Being able to create and sell vegan foods to make the country a little more vegan friendly is a dream come true for us. We’re very much looking forward to have nationwide stores stock our products and info will be released as soon as the locations are confirmed. Right now though, our online system allows direct to your door purchases so we’re trying to make it as user-friendly as possible.

Moodley Manor interview

Gav is an ethical vegan too who became very conscious of the inherent health issues attributed to heart disease after his father had a heart attack. He’s very aware of the health arguments and the ethical which gives us a nice perspective to work from.
I completely understand that some vegans don’t like the taste and texture of meat. Everyone has different tastes. However our indepth research leading up to these products being created showed us overwhelmingly that a lot of people do love smoky, maple bacon flavours and juicy burgers. I’m one of them.
The most interesting part of our research was when people freely provided their stories. Many explained how they morally and ethically wanted to be vegan but just found it too hard to give up bacon. We’ve now created a way for these people to make the transition and still get the tastes and textures they love, making veganism easier and ensuring no animal is harmed for our meals. That’s the focus for us, eating really, really well and letting the animals be.

Making plant-based products seems to be only one of your projects. Moodley Manor is not only a business but also a vegan community. Can you expand on this?

Our goal is to make Ireland and ideally one day, the whole world more vegan. We want to support people considering the transition, make it easier and more enjoyable with lots of recipes and online support from other vegans and aspiring ethical consumers. The website is something I personally love. The community is constantly growing and we have some really inspirational stories from other vegetarians and vegans in Ireland. One of our goals is to have a resource so filled with great stories and easy-recipes that veganism seems like the most logical option. Someone may stumble upon our site while googling recipes (our Seitan Satay) gets a lot of hits. Even if one or two of these are omnivores, but consider making a vegan meal, that’s a positive step towards our goal.

We’re always ready to answer questions as vegans ourselves, help connect our members to knowledge from others by sharing on our facebook and twitter pages and generally we love to chat with like-minded people who want the world to be kinder to animals. We have a range of personalities in the community. We ourselves, don’t quite fit the vegan stereotype. We’re into rock and metal music as well as classical and jazz, we’re arty and like to have fun with food but are also serious about making our business the type of producer that always supports vegans and is always there to make their vegan lives just that little bit more enjoyable.

I am curious to know what you think is the vegan stereotype! Do you think society still has a distorted view of what vegans do and look like? Worldwide and in Ireland?

That is great question. I love answering it. The stereo type is changing, thankfully. I get great satisfaction when meeting new people who are unaware of veganism, who are enlightened to find out after meeting us, that vegans are people. Wonderful and varied people who have jobs, families and friends. People who like to socialise and think independently and form their own unique views on the world. Vegans are shop owners, marketing professionals, accountants, mothers, fathers, students and everything else. Being vegan is just one aspect of a person (a great one I may add) and the old perceptions are changing. I’ve found in the last few years, after being asked about being vegan, that the response is so much better. Before, criticism or defense of eating meat or ‘being an animal’ has now changed to responses along the lines of “my sister’s a vegetarian” or “wow, that’s really interesting, I ate in a vegan restaurant for a friend’s birthday recently”. There are a few of course who like to announce their ‘need for meat’ and it’s so rewarding to be able to talk about it, respectfully, ask why they do (if they’re open to dialogue) and give our own experiences and leave them questioning.

The best way I’ve found so far to show how easy veganism can be is to constantly cook. Friends, family and anyone who will allow us, gets fed until they are so full they can’t fall back on previous arguments. Food is the best and most enjoyable proof.

Also, the only way I know how to describe a typical vegan is to describe myself. I’m creative, love to socialise, adore my dog, have the most wonderful business and life partner, feel immensely fulfilled in my job, enjoy wine regularly and always dream about holidays somewhere sunny. I try to be a good person and vegan and hopefully that does something towards making veganism more relatable.

I also think that things are changing, compared to even 10 years ago where the word vegan was not necessarily understood or appreciated in Ireland. People are now aware of the word vegan and its meaning. It is very important to provide support for vegans who may not know any other vegans, so we appreciate all your efforts to help vegans connect with one another and to bring veganism to the mainstream with your plant-based products. We do wish you all the success you deserve and can’t wait to see your products in the shops!
Is there anything else at all you’d like to say or add?

I have to say, we so appreciate the support of Vegan Ireland and the vegans in Ireland who have been so supportive of us. We are always looking for feedback from vegans and we would love to chat to each and every one in Ireland as well as those looking to transition or just curious on moodleymanor.com. If you want to see our product in shops near you, please mention us to your local retailer, try our products which can be bought online and always feel free to get in touch. We’ll continue to promise to make veganism easier in Ireland!

Thank you, Aisling, all the best!

Moodley Manor Ltd.
Website: moodleymanor.com
Where to order Moodley products: Moodley Meats.
Contact: info[at]moodleymanor.com