It’s a café. Nope, it’s a startup incubator. No, wait! It’s a cultural association.
Actually, it’s just Deli Social. A new café, incubator, and cultural association dedicated to creative culinary exploration right here in Lausanne. If you’re confused, it’s okay. As far as we’re aware, nothing like this has ever existed in the city before.
To understand the essence of this new address at la Place du Tunnel, you have to understand the backstory of its two founders, married couple Emily Groves and Rhys Williams. Hailing from London and Wales, respectively, the two met while studying at the Royal College of Art. After working in architecture firms in London, India, and China, Rhys followed Emily to Lausanne where she works for the EPFL-ECAL Lab as a designer.
Together they dreamt up a multidisciplinary space to sit firmly between design, architecture, culture, and gastronomy that could inspire the future of the food industry.
Concretely, this means that in the store front of the space, they offer light food – namely, out-of-the-ordinary sandwiches, small brand drinks, drip coffee, seasonal, forged tisanes, and the most tempting soft serve ice cream flavors you’ve ever heard of. Along the wall, you can also purchase independent magazines that cover subjects related to food. In the back, a light curtain conceals a workshop and open kitchen where startup culinary projects can run their operations for three months at a time.
Participants in the startup incubator program, called Mise en Place, will be selected by a jury of heavy hitters in the local arts, design, and culinary scenes. As Rhys explained to us, they’ve deliberately gathered jury members from both the academic and business worlds, hoping to nurture the kind of clash of ideas that leads to real innovation.
The power of this place is as much in its confidence as its creativity. Any insider can quickly see that the energy behind it comes from outside of Suisse Romande. Refreshingly, Deli Social wants to bring a new perspective to restaurant retail spaces in Lausanne, challenging our assumptions about what to expect from our culinary experiences in the city.
It’s bold. It’s ballsy. And maybe it’s exactly what we needed in Lausanne…