Dirty Clean Eats: Bringing a piece of Indonesia to Adelaide
When friends Matt 'Fev' Estevez and James Rodriguez couldn’t find what they were looking for, they did the next best thing- they created it. Thus, Dirty Clean Eats (DCE) was born- a unique food delivery business and recipe sharing website that provides information about clean eating with disarming honesty, sprinkled with heaps of humour.
The service’s main attraction is Jamu tonic, an Indonesian herbal drink that is believed to cure niggling health issues like inflammation. The duo after being introduced to the tonic In Bali decided to recreate their version of it for the Australian population. Unsurprisingly, the tonic is one of their top-selling items.
TAL caught up with Matt to learn more his and his partner's obsession with fitness, clean diet, and anything humourous!
What prompted you to start Dirty Clean Eats?
We stumbled upon the concept on a camping trip. We were about ten beers in when James floated an idea - he wanted to start a clean eating food delivery business. I was intrigued but didn't like the sound of cooking the same bulk meals in a commercial kitchen every week.
Also, we both felt there was a lot of misinformation in the health and fitness industry, and we wanted to provide honest advice to those looking to embrace the idea of healthy living and eating. From that desire grew DCE - a place where we share ideas around workouts, proper diet regime, clean eating recipes, techniques and commentary on things we find interesting.
How has the journey been till now?
We launched DCE on April 1, 2017, and we have to say it has been quite a successful journey. We have had over 10,000 website visits with nearly 1,000 Facebook and 7,000 Instagram followers. We also run podcasts on our website, and those have a unique download rate of 2,000.
There are many recipes sharing sites, what makes DCE so different?
DCE is unique because of its honesty and humour. True, there are many recipes sharing sites, but not many are run by two guys who will tell you what they think about various health fads and diet regimes.
A lot of people try to write what they think their readers want to hear. We will tell you what we believe – irrespective of it being palatable or not. Moreover, we feel most sites have the same look and feel and we wanted to provide something different. And, we have managed to successfully achieve that with DCE.
Are you both cooks? How do you go about choosing the recipes shared on the site?
Neither of us are formally qualified chefs, but we are both passionate about and love cooking. The motivation behind DCE was to have authentic and easy recipes that can be tried out by both amateurs and seasoned cooks.
Initially, the recipes were all ours with inputs from friends and family. Now, as the site has grown, we have started including more user contributions. If you'd like to share a recipe let us know.
Your podcasts are hilarious. What was the idea behind having these?
James will be the first person to admit that he doesn't like or understand podcasts, but I love them. And, well, I guess we all have to make sacrifices!
I wanted to do it because I secretly think I am a younger, more handsome version of Joe Rogan. We've had about 2,000 people download the podcasts which were a lot more than we expected. Matt wanted to do a podcast, so we did a podcast!
One of the more unique aspects of DCE is the availability of Jamu tonic. How were you introduced to it?
While we're training at Bali MMA, a good friend of DCE and professional MMA fighter Luke Howard introduced us to Jamu Tonic; an Indonesian drink that aids recovery and helps with inflammation.
This was directly after Luke beat us up for two hours so being the vain individuals we are. Naturally, we assumed the Jamu was giving him superpowers. We proceeded to drink the Jamu every day, and maybe it was the magic of being on holiday but most of our niggling injuries (especially lower back pain) cleared up for the rest of the camp.
Arriving back in Australia we couldn’t find this magical drink anywhere, and after converting back to AUS dollars, I’m not sure we could afford to pay $ 7-8 for individual serves anyway. We decided to create own version of the tonic. So, after six months of trial and error and much investigation, we came up with Dirty Doctors Magical Elixir.
What was the ‘trial and error’ process like?
James knew what it tasted like and what he liked about it in Bali, so he looked at a few recipes online and played around with the core ingredients. He made many attempts at recreating a similar topic for almost four months. He sought my feedback and based on that continued to refine the recipe until he reached a concoction that satisfied him - an Indonesian classic with a modern twist.
How did you manage to create awareness about Jamu tonic?
Luckily some friends of ours opened a juice bar called Jamu in Adelaide Central Market around the same time we finished making our Jamu product. James approached them and asked if they would like to sell it. I have also been chatting with people on the net to create awareness, and the reception has been quite positive.
Many who have tried the drink have loved it and those who haven’t still see the overall health benefits.
What kind of challenges did you face while creating a site on sharing food and nutritious tips?
James feels there’s a challenge to remain authentic and be engaging and not become a carbon copy of everything else. And, I think that one of the main challenges include staying motivated! I imagine it the same for any new business but there will always be periods of downtime, and you need to believe in what you are doing and stay the course.
What are plans with regards to Dirty Clean eats?
Two words. DCE Performance Centre, baby.
Buy Jamu tonic here.
Follow them on Instagram.