La Dolce Vita
article and photos by Alastair Gregor
• The “Good Life” comes through taking a series of purposeful actions. It doesn’t just materialize; it becomes manifest because we choose it, but first we have to journey a while to sample life. It is then we can understand the difference between what we want and what actually fulfils us. What fulfils us is where our attention should be focused, as where we place our focus expands.
Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh said, “The best way to take care of the future is to take care of the present moment.” This thought expresses the mindfulness that we must apply not only in our daily actions, but especially around the energy and conscious intent in the preparation of food.
Food prepared with reverence and gratitude carries a higher vibration and is more satisfying; a little goes a long way and we feel more energetic and satisfied after eating it.
Use your intuition when choosing and eating foods. Use your senses. Do you feel uplifted after your meal? A doctor friend told me to smell the ingredients and if I felt an increase in my energy, the food would be good for me and what my body needed. So if you don’t feel uplifted, choose something else.
How do you make these choices when dining out? Again, use your senses. When you walk into the restaurant, does it smell clean and uplifting? If not, leave and find another. I recently visited two restaurants in Vancouver that exemplify these food preparation principles, and both make everything from scratch. At Vancouver Tibet Kitchen (6591 Fraser Street), Tibetan-born chef Tsering Norsang has worked in five-star hotels throughout the world for 25 years. In 1996, he won Gold in the Culinary Olympics. The food was wonderfully simple, traditional, very tasty and immensely satisfying.
At Ethical Kitchen, an organic Restaurant at 1600 McKay Road in North Vancouver, they grow some of their own produce on their 4,000-acre organic farm as well as in standing box beds in a small garden outside the restaurant. Proprietor Barbara Schellenberg shows a great love for her business; she changes the menu almost daily according to the weather and available ingredients.
Everything at the restaurant is based on the premise of stabilizing the food culture, focusing on more home-based cooking using styles from around the world. All the staff, regardless of their culture, influence the food, which keeps it fun and fresh. All cultures globally use the same basic food concepts: some vegetables are fermented, a certain amount of the food is raw and everyone makes stocks, all of which form the basis of the restaurant’s wholesome foods. The restaurant even makes its own Ethical Soda, a Kombucha tea in many different flavours, and is similar to a French country bistro with lots of fresh, home-style foods to take home. Hang out there a bit and you’ll see a great diversity of clients from all over the world and the place is constantly busy.
I was most impressed with their 15,000 new employees busily working up on the roof preserving civilization – bees – ethics in action at Ethical Kitchen. I spent a few hours with beekeeper David Macdonald and the bees. What an experience! Wandering round their edible flower garden, you’ll see many bees busy at work. David explained how the urban beekeeper is saving bees from almost completely disappearing since 96 percent of the wild population has collapsed since the introduction of GMOs and monoculture farming.
Seek and you will find many great restaurants; just follow your nose and ask good questions. Have fun.
To advertise your restaurant, food product or service in our Good Eats section, please contact food writer Chef Alastair Gregor at email@example.com. Alastair’s life-long passion for food was inherited from his grandmother. He’s an Honours graduate of the Culinary Institute of Vancouver Island at VIU and has been cooking since he was old enough to see over the top of the stove.