Do you know those moments in time which stand out forever in your memory as so extraordinary you can't believe they've happened to you? After all the planning and creating all the details to the best of your abilities, you simply let go and hope, with fingers crossed, that everything comes together and your dreams for an unforgettable experience come true?
These past few months I have been putting together the details and creating recipes for a Patisserie Second Course to be offered by my Japanese client, Japan Living Beauty Association: Raw restaurant and organic farm tours, meetings with raw food luminaries, hotel accommodations, mini-coach transportation, a little sightseeing in San Francisco, Los Angeles and the Napa Valley ...and a jam-packed pastry course with 40 recipes in four days to be taught at Whole Foods' beautiful culinary kitchen in Napa.
That's a lot of work for one little woman with a dream of making a difference. You know what? Months of preparation flew by. Tour plans and recipes came together. Then, my clients and the students arrived, and magic happened. One of those moments we dream about happened to me, and I am forever changed.
Here's the Japanese promotion for the Patisserie 2nd Course in Napa, California. The ad appeared in a recent Veggie News, Japan issue:
Now here's a hoot -- I have no idea what the ad said, but it got the attention of 17 raw food students from all over Japan who joined us for the course here in California. Restaurant owners, several members planning to open cafes, a nurse. Another chef works with pregnant mothers wanting to bring raw healthy foods to newborns and children. A prospective importer preparing to bring raw food ingredients to Japan for the emerging Japanese raw food market. A young chef whose family makes traditional Japanese sweets for the marketplace and who will soon introduce her own line of raw sweets in Japanese stores. All in all, an amazing group who came from so far away to learn from me: I was honored, humbled, and a little nervous when I started. An unforgettable experience.
I've struggled to find words adequate to the experience ...and there aren't any! It's too big for mere words. Hoping my collection of pictures will speak a thousand words, I'm adding some here and I posted a few more on Facebook to share the experience of some treasured moments with all of you.
I adore working with this wonderful group. Their desire to learn, attentiveness, kindness, and humor overwhelm our language differences. Of course having an amazing translator who worked as tirelessly as I did made all the difference.
I am *SO* grateful to the many who helped along the way, but there can never be enough "Thank you!"s for Makiko-san, my translator. From the moment I met Masae, the Japan Living Beauty Association leader, two years ago, Makiko has been present every step of the way, creating the bridge to bring our worlds together. She intuitively understands what we want to say in each exchange of emails, phone calls and lectures, and brings my words to life in the lyrical language of Japanese.
Long ago I told the universe, "I want to travel and teach" -- this time, my students came from Japan all the way to me, and I am forever grateful to everyone who made this possible ...but especially to Makiko-san. Without her, my dream is not reality and how do you say enough thank yous for that?
In The News
Just before my students arrived from Tokyo, the St. Helena Star, our local newspaper, asked to do a story about my work. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. I was in the final recipe development stages for my Japanese class, and working with Carolyn Younger, the reporter, was a delight. She taste-tested several raw desserts. Here's a direct link to the article and yes, the German Chocolate Cake pictured so prominently was terrific and my husband Mike and I celebrated with a piece ourselves, then shared it all around with the staff of one of our favorite restaurants, Farmstead in St. Helena.
Lydia's Lovin' Foods is coming to you in person now!! Yes, after long anticipation from many in our raw food bay area world, Lydia Kindheart has opened her new café in Fairfax. Recently I had the pleasure of joining her for lunch in the garden with 18 of my closest friends (the Japanese students). The food was fabulous as always, her menu is lengthy and creative, and the downtown location a gem. Plan a visit soon and don't forget to try some of her desserts. (PS: I love her new packaging - did you know she's got something like 50 packaged products in the marketplace now for us raw fooders. She is simply amazing with a long 30-plus year career, a true pioneer for all of us. Stop by and see her, you'll love how her staff takes care of you.)
The long awaited NEW Whole Foods in Santa Rosa is opening Sep 22nd, 10am. It's been a long two years that locals have watched the space at Coddingtown Mall come to life as another WF megastore. It has a small culinary kitchen for healthy living lectures as well as all the amazing products WF has to offer. Be sure to check my schedule for upcoming events as I'm talking with them about teaching in their new space. I've got a VIP sneak peek tour scheduled a couple of days prior to opening so I'll let you know all the inside info.
Newsflash! I just had the opportunity to do a sneak peek tour of the new store in Santa Rosa (Coddingtown). Oh my - its got all the WF standard departments featuring local producers, growers and farmers and some fun new sections like the Beer Barn.
The Raw Food section is the biggest of any WF I've seen so be sure stop by, go shopping and let the store team leaders know how much you appreciate their commitment to healthy living. They, like all the other stores, are commited to educating folks on heathly lifestyle changes and the lecture center is the perfect place. Get on their mailing list and I'll see you there real soon.
RESTAURANT REVIEW: Au Lac, Fountain Valley, California
Oh my !! That's my continued reaction every time I visit and I think of this amazing raw restaurant in Southern California. You simply must go if you have an opportunity. Whether you are raw or not you'll find something on the menu to satisfy all the senses. Chef Ito, has created his signature restaurant in a small strip center off Brookhurst Avenue in Fountain Valley. It's an oasis of simplicity and calm in décor and bursts with creativity in the menu selections and taste sensations. I recently visited again with my Japanese group and shared 20 different dishes from his menu. All were amazingly delicious, creatively presented and bursting with flavor. And if that isn't amazing enough, Chef has taken a vow of silence 2 years ago so runs his entire restaurant without speaking a word. Simply said -- it's worth your effort to make a visit on your next trip to Southern California, you won't be disappointed.
UPCOMING EVENTS and CLASSES with BRENDA
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Summer is almost over but October often offers the last reminders of some hot days and cool evenings. It's a great time for Lemonade so in honor of my Japanese friends I'd like to share my version. It offers the sweet and tart you love from the classic one with a little pick me up at the same time.
Green Tea Lemonade
Yield: 6 cups
Brew Green Tea in a large glass jar or pitcher. Add lemon and lime juice, then agave.
Stir to combine. Refrigerate and enjoy.
Thank you for reading this month and for the opportunity to share 'my little moment in time.'
Domo arigatou gozaimasu,
Don't ask yourself what
the world needs
Ask yourself what makes
you come alive
And then go do that
the world needs
Is people who have come alive.
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updated 17 December 2020