Stuart Cook Flave

Flave CEO’s passion for profit with purpose

Sarah Stowe
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Stuart Cook is the former CEO of Zambrero – an international Mexican Quick Service Restaurant chain. He joined the business almost accidentally, and left six years later having built a $100 million plus business.

Now he is collaborating with his wife Samantha on an exciting, plant-based fast food option, Flave. It has launched in Sydney and has mega global ambitions.

In this podcast we talk about what it’s like to step into CEO shoes at just 23 years of age, why he has such an interest in not-for-profit organisations, and lessons learned on the journey so far.

Show notes

Stuart Cook is not yet 40 but he’s already more than made his mark in business. At just 23 a chance encounter with Dr Sam Prince, the founder of Zambrero, led him to dive headfirst into a CEO role. 

Zambrero is a Mexican food chain with a social mission, to have a positive impact on the world, based around its Plate 4 Plate initiative.

Sam Prince’s mission and passion inspired Stuart. “It wouldn’t have mattered if he’d been selling socks!” he says.

With the confidence of youth, and a no-fear attitude, he navigated his way through business leadership.

“I hadn’t even eaten at Zambrero when I took the job!” he says. 

Now he sees youth as a superpower, something that young entrepreneurs should make the most of.

In his career to date Stuart has always leaped into new opportunities, taking an extended year-long honeymoon to travel when plans to expand Zambrero in the US fell through. It led him to build connections with other entrepreneurs and not-for-profits and to set up, with his wife, an investment and advisory group  T.W.I.Y.O – The World Is Your Oyster.

This invests and works with a number of start-ups and businesses.

Stuart is also chair of ForpurposeCo, the OzHarvest charity’s venture arm.

And then there is Flave, another collaboration with Samantha. This is a plant-based fast food concept, a step into the restaurant market with a focus on the consumer’s end experience not just the product. 

With Flave, Stuart and Samantha aim to also help people switch to a plant-based diet and reduce their carbon footprint.


The feel-good Mexican restaurant has donated more than 63 million meals through its Plate4Plate initiative. Each big or regular burrito, bowl or retail item sold at Zambrero, equates to a meal donated to someone in need. Rise Against Hunger, LoveMercy and Foodbank distribute the donated meals.


This is a sustainable, profit-for-purpose social enterprise that invests in food and waste technology and innovative startups with the aim of boosting funding for OzHarvest.

One Disease at a Time

Dr Sam Prince founded non-profit organisation One Disease with a simple mission – to eliminate one disease at a time, starting with scabies.


The World Is Your Oyster offers virtual CFO, corporate and capital raise advisory services to entrepreneurs committed to building a better world. It is involved with a number of businesses including two franchises: Fitstop and Lifesize Plans.


This plant-based fast food business has a flagship store at Bondi Beach in Sydney. Joining the founders Stuart and Samantha is head chef Scott Findlay. He trained with Gordon Ramsay and then developed plant-based recipes while working as a private chef to Sir Paul McCartney.