Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Southern California Chef, Nick Brune, Executive Chef at Local Habit and owner of Eco Caters. Nick is from Louisiana and has traveled the world learning how different countries and cultures infuse their foods with delicious taste.
Nick’s grandfather was a farmer in East Texas, however, 60 years ago, the government came and told him he was going to have to change his farming practices. The new government rules included practices that did not honor the land, the animals or humans. His grandfather made the tough, emotional decision to leave farming behind. Nick grew up with a love of the land. His grandfather’s commitment and his own observation of the push for mass farming, along with pollution in the rivers of his hometown created a passion for changing the food system.
A Melting Pot of Tastes
We are better together…Underneath it all, Nick has a passion for nourishing people and the sustainability movement that’s beginning to take hold. His passion comes from the melting pot of tastes from his childhood in Louisiana, where Creole — the mix of rich and poor, European, African, Native American people and all of their cultures, music and cooking styles — came together. He has a love of the jazz that came from a European and African population that became united when they heard each others’ music and knew it would sound better together.
And that is Nick’s message — we are better together. We are better when we blend a love of the land, animals and people from all cultures, races and backgrounds. We are better together when we eat foods that nourish our bodies so we can be strong and healthy. And we are better together when we share our music.
Cali-Creole is Born
When Nick came to California, he was inspired by the commitment to organic, fresh foods and a focus on improving agriculture. He came up with a new style of food to honor his love of Louisiana’s mix of cultures and California’s fresh focus. He calls this Cali-Creole and it is delicious! When I had a bowl of his broth at Local Habit, I could taste that alchemy of culture, memory and love of the land. This is when food can reunite and reconnect us. It allows us to honor the blending of cultures, tastes and ideals. It brings our senses and our passions together. It has the ability to uplift and inspire.
While I was interviewing Nick for the book Louise Hay and I are writing, Rachel Peter of Barn and Butter Farm came to deliver her organic grass-fed butter. It’s reassuring to see that farmers and chefs are coming together to bring us food we can trust to nourish our bodies optimally. If you’re in the San Diego area, check out Local Habit on 5th ave in Hillcrest and say hi to Nick — he’ll be in the kitchen whipping up organic Cali-Creole food that will keep your body happy and healthy!
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