There are a lot of things in life that I love, one is food; especially whole plant-base food and making people fall in love with it. It’s bringing them pleasure and health all in one, more or less like having your cake … and eating it too.
My father was a very passionate man. Whatever he did, he did it as best as he could possibly do. Yes, he was a perfectionist and I suppose I inherited a big part of that trait. For him it was a pride thing too, and it made him feel good knowing that he gave it his all. This passion wasn’t just shared in his creations or artwork or his designs; it was also instilled in me through his teachings and his meticulous attention to detail.When he created an outdoor pretend bakery for me, with the full size bake ware, counters, oven and make-believe electricity, at age six, he didn’t realize he started a fire inside me. I began with simple ingredients, like water and dirt and the odd twig. In very little time he would become my first customer. He sat through my very first sales pitch and listened intently to my imaginative descriptions of the variety of baked goods I had made with the freshest and most natural ingredients. He was equally impressed with the imaginary taste of my cookies, tortes and cupcakes, without even taking a real bite.
Through the years, my love of food has taking me all across the continent. As my palate progressed, the one thing that has always remained constant is to “eat well”. I was taught that you are what you eat, and perhaps I can claim my health and outlook on life has much to do with that. My lust for learning about nutrition and its connection to longevity and vitality continued as my bookshelves overflowed.
Quite possibly, The China Study, written by T. Colin Campbell, was the pivotal point for me changing to a total vegan diet. It resounded deeply in me as it all made sense, and it immediately threw a twist into my baking artistry (What??!! No eggs? No butter?). After years of recipe creation, I finally did that same sales pitch, but it was now to my husband, and it was the real thing. It was at that moment, he said, “it’s time to share these with everyone” that convinced me I was on to something very special.
Within months, I opened my very first HEALTHY, ORGANIC Gluten-Free & Vegan Bakery and Café, named LettuceLove Cafe. Kind to your body, kind to the planet, and kind to the animals, I now had a place that I could share my passion and love of healthy food to everyone.
Almost immediately, LettuceLove Cafe earned a reputation for being the healthiest place to eat and grab a treat (#1 TripAdvisor). Within the very first ten months, LettuceLove Cafe won six first place awards from being the “Best Bakery” to the “Best New Business”. We began to build a following, and requests for cooking classes and seminars poured in. I love to share what I know, and inspire others to be the healthiest they can be through plant-based nutrition. When people taste one of my Gluten-free, Vegan (dairy and egg-free), Refined Sugar-free, Soy-free, Cholesterol-free, Casein-free, Peanut-free, Organic, Fibre-rich and Protein-rich baked goods, they say more times than not, “this is the best ___________ I have ever tasted!” and “this can’t be vegan or gluten-free??!!, Is it??”
With all the years of studying and learning, baking, recipe creation and fine-tuning my ‘works of culinary art’, the reaction of pleasure from people who eat my food and taste my baked goods is undeniable, and is what inspires me to show and teach countless others that “eating well” can taste amazing. By being great for your health, good for the planet and kind to all living things, it seems a far cry from my early mud pie days, but in retrospect, the passion was born from those early years and has now manifested into something beyond culinary imagination.