about us

the story

Happy Maki was started to show people that sushi can be sustainable and delicious without the fish. Sushi means seasoned rice after all. Inspired by time spend on an organic pearl farm in French Polynesia, I was sushi obsessed and started researching how our demand for salmon, shrimp and tuna were affecting our oceans. It was hard hitting information and after watching "End of the Line" an idea was born and Happy Maki has now grown to support more than just our oceans. I knew I couldn't claim to be an ocean lover whilst contributing to the very thing that was destroying the oceans...eating fish!

A vintage Renault van was bought and converted on a tight budget, it was... interesting to drive but a real head turner. I had no experience with catering or cheffing when I started the company so it was an intense learning curve, a lot of blood sweat and tears. I started catering at food festivals marathons, shopping centres and Vegan festivals. We started off fish free, but sold real chicken and duck. After a year of cooking with meat on a large scale and that famous line in Cowspiracy "you cant be an environmentalist and still eat meat" Happy Maki and Anna had to go vegan and we've never looked back. The main driving force behind Happy Maki has always been my love of the environment and healthy fast food. After getting our first festival pitch at Bestival it was clear that music festivals were the best place to sell our sushi burritos. By the third summer Happy Maki was catering at most of the top UK music festivals including Glastonbury, which was so nerve wracking but ended up being and still is our most successful event of the summer calendar.

The first shop opened in the South Lanes of Brighton in January 2016, another big challenge as I had always feared and successfully avoided larger full time responsibility. Another steep learning curve of how things have to be done differently when in a shop versus a field.   Which takes us to now, we are soon to open our second restaurant in Brighton, with a larger menu and big eat in area and a really exciting experiment of Pay As You Feel. There is a full Happy Maki team not just myself doing every single job! We're excited, nervous and once again our of our depth creating a pay as you feel vegan sushi restaurant, seating up to 50 people in the heart of Brighton North Lanes.

why vegan

As I mentioned in "the story" Happy Maki went vegan for the positive environmental impacts.  Animal agriculture is the leading cause of, deforestation, water pollution, habitat loss, species extinction, soil erosion and global greenhouse gas emissions.  However as I'm sure you've heard by now its also great for your health and most importantly and rewardingly it means you're no longer contributing to unnecessary killing and suffering of animals. Although previously not top of my priority list the benefits, on a soul level, turning vegan has been so overwhelmingly positive and rewarding.  Its hard to put into words how much sadness you feel when you finally connect to your contribution to the suffering. However there is also the huge relief and joy in knowing that you're no longer part it that.  I would never have been able to kill a cow, pig, chicken or duck but the fact that I was willing to pay someone else to do that traumatic job shows a large issue of ethics.  Going vegan in the western world, is an easy decision, its just that the majority don't want to give up food that brings us comfort and industries that we've been brought up supporting.

Before going vegan many feel that you're going to miss out on things but your taste buds and opinions change very quickly after making the switch if you're able to connect emotionally to the reality of the situation.  As a girl who's favourite meal was rare steak I have experienced both sides of the coin and I know which I (and 99% of vegans I know) prefer.  I can only encourage people to try the experiment, 6 months or a year to get all the seasons in and give yourself time to get educated on the topic.  I really do believe that kindness and reconnection is what is going to save the world, yes we can hugely help the environment and our bodies by going vegan but if we are not being kind to each other and the animals that we have dominion over then whats the point. So I just want to stress that whether you're looking to reduce meat intake, are vegan or just like good tasting sushi you're all equally welcome at Happy Maki. We look forward to serving you good wholesome healthy food and hopefully getting to know you and learning what your passions and talents are. For more information on the full environmental impacts of animal agriculture please check out the link below.
cowspiracy infographic

ethos & ethics

Although we are a vegan company, the food we serve is only one of many factors taken into consideration when trying to develop a loving business model.   Our founding principles are :

- Love
- Truth

This relates to the transparency we aim for in the business that we do, and in our communication with customers and staff members.  Doing honest work is very important to us.  When making business decisions we ask "What would love do?" a lot of the time this takes us to an easy answer, other times we have to go against what we have been taught or what feels most comfortable, but thats the way change works not everyone understands it or feels comfortable at the beginning.   We work on our environmental impact which includes everything from how we deal with our rubbish to type of energy we us in store. We work on self responsibility and equality within the company and with our customers. We aim to ensure that staff are self responsible in their job rolls.  We don't serve alcohol out of care for our customers and were hoping that an alcohol free space for people to hang will help change the norm around eating out and what we need to have a good time.  And of course we are now trialing pay as you feel, asking ourselves what would love do, love wouldn't demand, love would give gifts. To learn more about this go to the "pay as you feel" page.

EQUALITY AND BLACK LIVES MATTER STATEMENT - Written by Owner Anna - 10 / 06 / 20

It’s been a full on and challenging week watching how everyone has responded to the BLM movement online.  Observing and discussing our own feelings on the matter within the team. Including the positive and negative effects of social media in the movement and in our lives in general. I have struggled for a lot of different reasons but It has really made me reflect on issues of equality, their causes and my contribution.  I have some insights and opinions on the topic of equality and supremacy that I'd like to share and that will hopefully be helpful to some.

It know it is so important to get to the emotional causes of issues. It is the only way to create lasting and positive change within our hearts, and the only way to avoid falling into a cycle of retribution.  If we want to be happy, if we want to love each other better and if we want to see change in the world, we all need to take personal responsibility for our unloving feelings.  Not only is it important, it's the fastest and easiest way of dealing with an issue, and for anyone who knows me they know I just love efficiency!

If like me you grew up and still exist in predominantly white communities and feel you are not racist, it can be harder to understand how we may be contributing to the problem. The majority of what I have learned about love, ethics, morals and emotions come from Divine Truths teachings, and from verifying these with; my conscience, my logic, science, field experts, my own and others experiences. The below are my own thoughts, feelings and opinions.

I feel there are four main areas in which our views on love/equality, when damaged, can lead to direct racism as well as contributing to systemic racism and supremacy in society:

1. Seeing and judging people physically before knowing their character or soul.

2. Living life with the desire to have more than others either feeling it’s deserved, increases your worth, will bring happiness or that life is simply a competition. Rather than a desire to share resources equally and in a global environmentally responsible way.

3. Feeling that people who commit crimes or act negatively are inherently bad, not understanding the role of childhood / ancestral trauma and how to heal it.

4. Feeling that we are not all connected and that our family / village/ postcode/ city / country/ race is more important than another.

I feel one reason its hard to connect to supremacy is we didn't choose it. We were brought up with it and taught not to question it, we were even made to feel guilty for it.  The classic manipulation how dare you leave food when there are people starving in Africa... for me the telling off ended there. We never discussed (because my parents were likely influenced and shut down on the matter too) "Ok..... I don't like the thought of that, is it normal that we have more than them, does it happen in our country too, what caused this, why is no one helping and what can I do to help?

Challenging the above four false beliefs and processing the associated emotions will hurt, be uncomfortable, messy and even feel unfair at times. We will likely make mistakes and head back to our addictions for comfort. Picture a child being told it can no longer have the Lucky Charms and full cream milk it has been given for breakfast for years, instead it's now being guided towards a green smoothie..... exactly these are the kinds of tantrums we'll likely need to have.  Some may taste the smoothie straight away and think this is nice, I like this, I feel better. For most its going to take longer to adjust our taste buds and feel the benefits and thats fine. Lets try and be kind to everyone and compassionate, regardless of where they are at and whether they even want to change yet.

We cannot cause pain to others and not have to eventually face and feel the pain that has been caused to both parties. In addition to this we need to forgive those who taught us wrong which lead to us acting in this way.  There can be a lot of resistance to doing this due of fear of punishment, anger, shame, regret, being wrong and guilt. It’s a hard process, one that a lot of vegans are familiar with, but a process from which the rewards and ripple effect are overwhelmingly beneficial for all.  We must be wary of taking action because we feel shamed or pressured, or taking action in facade to make people think a certain way about us and dispel the initial discomfort without addressing the issues more deeply. Our desire has to be pure especially as adults, we need to engage our will.

It can seem like an overwhelming and maybe even impossible task, given the way the World is today and how long people have been fighting the issues of racism and inequality. Also a hard task considering how little we have been taught about our emotions and processing them. However we all have some great tools too help us, one that I want to touch on is our conscience which I believe is Gods way of communicating regardless of whether we believe in him or not. Always ready to show us the right path to take in the kindest way possible. Even if we don't agree on its source,  the conscience is powerful. If we let ourselves soften and listen to its gentle attempts at corrections towards love, we can always discern for ourselves what is morally right and wrong.

I am very proud of our team who all have beautiful hearts, a willingness to learn and grow, plus an understanding of what equality would look like. We are committed to making progress in this area. I have see a large amount of grace and vulnerability from Black people and people of all races during this period. I hope they know how beautiful and beyond powerful this is.  It's such a gift because it can make our part of the process much easier and faster, helping us relate to your pain and making it feel safer for us to lower our defence mechanisms.

For every person who has suffered from these issues of inequality, which is especially huge in Black communities, we are sorry and as a company we will continue our emotional and educational work in the areas of discrimination and privilege, so we can better love you. Personally I haven't always been drawn to understanding the politics and history of it all, there will be reasons for that so I'm excited to challenge that resistance, analyse the emotions in the policy makers and their countries and see which of those I still find in myself. I have a hunch a lot of it will link to emotions surrounding money and security.

As a company we will continue our work with Mary’s meals, who help communities which suffer due to our systems current and past exploitations of them.  We also look forward to including evenings and panels on the topic of race and equality at our new restaurant when it opens. Those of you who have suffered and are now leading by example and standing up for Love and Truth with kindness and understanding you have no idea how inspiring you are and we thank you.  Those of you who have committed time and energy to creating any of the vast resources available today relating to the topic, be that charities, movies, books etc, we thank you for the gift and again for making the process easier for us.

There are a lot of recommended resources online at the moment, but I wanted to share with you films I have watched and enjoyed over the years to help me get into my emotions surrounding racism and inequality, to help me understand what people of colour and their ancestors have been through, I recommend:

Just Mercy
Hidden Figures
The banker
12 years a slave
When They See Us
Green Book
Coach Carter
Remember the Titans

They are all American films and I know not all fully accurate but the aim is to observe how the stories make you feel, it’s the same pain that is felt globally through any kind of  discrimination so it helps us relate, allowing us to “walk the footsteps of a stranger" and hopefully "learn things we never knew we never knew”