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Green Fox Kitchen's plant based meals growing in popularity

This is a side passion project for the Chippewa Secondary School teachers who say for a long time, their friends had been commenting on the lunches they brought to work

If you are looking for alternative meal choices that are delicious, fresh, and healthy, Green Fox Kitchen checks off all those boxes. The husband-and-wife team of Cheryl and Michael Brisson offer their plant-based meals, desserts and kitchen staples right from their home kitchen.

This is a side passion project for the Chippewa Secondary School teachers who say for a long time, their friends had been commenting on the lunches they brought to work.

“They were asking about the unique ingredients, how we prepare them, and how they can get some for themselves,” says Cheryl.

“We went plant-based and saw even more interest – being able to share our evolving knowledge about nutrition encouraged us to keep exploring new recipes and flavours. We finally decided to listen to our friends’ advice and share our love of lunch.”

The business launched in August 2021 after a summer of planning.

“We love to hike and bike in the summer and those events turned into fun (and a bit scary) planning meetings,” says Michael. “We tested our Bombin’ Ramen Bowl with 20 friends, and after rave reviews we put out our first menu.”

The Brissons renovated a part of their home to accommodate a sizeable commercial-grade kitchen that allows them to handle their orders.

Michael handles the business side of Green Fox Kitchen: packaging, inventory and orders, while Cheryl takes care of the cooking side.

“I’m very proud of the fact that all of our recipes are done in house,” says Cheryl.

“We travelled a lot, and after those trips we’d think about trying to make some of the meals we had, that stood out or were unique.”

While this is a “side job” for the Brissons’ it takes about a week of work to prepare, make, package and hand out their orders.

“Production starts the Tuesday before an order weekend with printing labels and organizing packaging, and we spend the entire production weekend in the kitchen,” says Cheryl.

“It’s crazy, but we make it enjoyable with music in the background, good coffee, and each other’s company.”

“This really has been much more time consuming than we expected,” says Michael.

“I’m sure this is true of any business, but once you get started you realize there are so many steps needed to get to where you want to go, and it's difficult to know that until you’re in it.”

To help with the pace of production, Green Fox Kitchen will be offering a freezer menu later this winter.

“That will be food that people can order at any time and prepare themselves right out of their freezer,” says Cheryl.

“One of the big hits has been the Oatmeal Bombs, they are frozen chocolate steel cut oats with raspberries on top. You throw it in the microwave for 90 seconds and you have a nutritious and delicious option. That’s really the next exciting thing for us.”

Expanding options coincide with how the business has expanded around its kitchen renovation.

“We’re buying more shelving units, we have enough coolers to fill the back of a truck, we started with one fridge and quickly learned that would not be sufficient,” says Michael.

“We actually have named our fridges so that we aren’t spending time trying to figure out which food is in which fridge, we can just say ‘this item is in Bertha or Susanne.’”

The Brissons say the feedback from their customers has been nothing but positive.

“Our customers tell us that they love the way our food makes them feel and of course that it’s delicious,” says Cheryl. “People say, ‘I just want my kiddos to start eating this type of amazing food’ and ‘Today's lunch was one of the best ‘take-out’ meals I have ever had. The flavour was excellent and I was surprised by how hearty and filling it was. The vegan dressing was fantastic and the pickled jalapeños added just the right amount of kick.’”

And it’s changed the way many are thinking about their overall meal choices.

“They now like tofu, and they now purchase more plant-based groceries after trying Green Fox,” says Michael.

“It’s amazing to have an impact on people’s choices, to know we’re serving good food to our community, and to know that we’re helping people make healthy, and tasty decisions.”

But he adds, you don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to become one of their customers.

“Don’t be scared to try plant-based eating - less than 10 per cent of our customers are vegetarian. They’re eating our food not because of what it doesn’t have, but because it’s delicious.”

Green Fox Kitchen will have a new winter menu starting December 30th and you can find out more by going to their website.

If you have a story idea for the “Jobs of the Future” series, send Matt an email at [email protected]

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Matt Sookram

About the Author: Matt Sookram

Matthew Sookram is a Canadore College graduate. He has lived and worked in North Bay since 2009 covering different beats; everything from City Council to North Bay Battalion.
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