The Power of One!0
Patrick Mixis knows every one of us can step up and make a difference to people in need. With the support of the Kalamazoo community, he has proved it! Two years ago, he created his successful social impact food business, Feed The World Café (FTWC).
The idea for the business was conceived while Mixis was washing piles of dishes, fine tuning his kitchen skills in local restaurants, and earning his Bachelor degree in Food Service Administration from Western Michigan University (WMU). There he mentally merged his passion for helping people with his business and cooking skills, dreaming up a concept to accomplish it all!
Mixis loves to feed people and has great passion for the vulnerable members of our community who sometimes have no idea where their next meal will come from. Inspired by the founder of TOMS® shoes, he started Feed The World Café with a one for one concept. For every meal they dish up, the business donates at least one meal back to the local community, via agencies including Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes, Ministry with Community, Food Bank of South Central Michigan and Feeding America.
Feed The World Café restaurant encompasses a full-service menu, offering lunch, dinner and take-out. They host wine and beer food pairing events, live music evenings, have a growing catering business and an in-house store. Mixis also sells FTWC spice mixes along with locally made products, including Water Street coffee and tea.
As the business grows, so do donations. Feed The World Café is fast approaching its 100,000th meal donation.
I coaxed 26 year young, Head Chef, Mixis out of the kitchen to share current customer favorites on his worldly menu. I was also hoping to take my taste buds on a journey. He did not disappoint!
Mixis shared, “The Vegan BBQ’d Jackfruit ‘Pulled Pork Style’ is flying out the door. Customers also love our version of Tom Kha-Gai, when they are brave enough to try it. Our famous homemade dessert pies are also a huge hit. Let’s eat!”
My tummy rumbling, I devoured the Chargrilled Cauliflower Pecan Paté; rich, thick, smooth, with a delicate, nutty, cauliflower taste, served with a generous plate of grilled sourdough - incredibly moreish.
Followed by FTWC Tom Kha-Gai. A bed of rice in an aromatic, light, coconut red curry, topped with tender, juicy shrimp and crunchy cilantro - all scrumptious paired with Avocado Citrus Tossed Salad , truly art on a plate.
I thought I’d had my fill when a two-inch-high, fluffy slice of Peanut Pie made its spectacular appearance. I oohed and aaahed until the whole thing magically disappeared.
Mixis laughed, “My biggest joy is creating menus and hosting dinners that people enjoy and the proceeds give back to the community. Our wine or beer pairing dinners provide thousands of meal donations at each event.” He continued, “I love watching people have fun as they eat my creations. Through the dishes I develop for the restaurant, my goal is also to bring a new understanding of ingredients, recipes and appreciation of cultural food differences in our community.”
Mixis offered some advice for would be entrepreneurs, "Be very sure that you want to start a business and are ready for many hours of hard work and sacrifice. The business is your life."
That led me to ask, why Kalamazoo? Mixis shared, “I never considered starting a business anywhere else. I love it here. I feel at one with this community and I want to give back. Here, I have incredible support from my family. It’s tough starting a new restaurant. I couldn’t have done this without them. We also have enthusiastic local suppliers including Pacific Rim Foods, Alex Heckaman - Spring Roots Farm, and AACORN Farm.”
Debra Mixis, Patrick’s mom has spent many years serving our community in various fundraising roles. I asked, what has impressed her about her son’s success the most.
“Patrick sees hunger in our community as completely unacceptable. He has found a way to combine his love of food, and his goal to eliminate hunger. I’m impressed by his passion, creativity and amazing curiosity for food. He blends ingredients that I couldn’t imagine would come together so beautifully, but they do. I find his talent incredible.”
And what of the future? Mixis face lights up.
“We plan to franchise Feed The World Café, increase its scope and impact and continue to bring new taste experiences through our evolving international menu. This November, I will visit Chile and Argentina to learn about their food and culture, then share new recipes with my customers.”
Mixis is thankful that the community of Kalamazoo comes together as one, day by day, meal by meal, to reduce hunger. We also thank him, for helping bring change to our world!
Try Feed The World Café located on Stadium Drive, only 10 minutes from downtown Kalamazoo and help pay it forward by enjoying good food for a good cause.