Healthy Eating in Utah

#38: Rawtopia – A Food-Inspired Spiritual Awakening

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Omar Abou-Ismail doesn't have your typical restaurant owner story. Originally born in Lebanon, Omar and his family traveled and lived throughout West Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, and the Middle East, and eventually settled in Utah. After studying geophysics and mechanical engineering at the University of Utah, he began working with the U.S. Navy as a geophysicist. And then, in 2005, he opened Rawtopia. You could say it was a bit of a leap in career.

What started as a curiosity about the raw food movement became a passion, and his love for sustainability and care for the earth only fueled the flames. After he switched to a raw food diet, Omar began to feel more healthy, happy, and energetic. This new-found life style change felt akin to a spiritual awakening, and Omar wanted to share this feeling with the Salt Lake City community.

Rawtopia opened in Sugar House in 2005, and has become a staple in Salt Lake. Along with providing high-quality, healthy food, it also serves as an educational resource for people who are unfamiliar with what the raw food diet entails. Overcoming adversity, trials, and tribulations, Rawtopia has also celebrated many victories.

Join us as we sit down with Omar Abou-Ismail, and dive into his fascinating story, and all the lessons and changes that led to the creation of Rawtopia. We also learn what it means to eat raw food, and how the physical, mental, and sometimes spiritual benefits of a healthy and raw diet.

For more information or to browse our episode archive, visit theutahfoodie.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. See you next week!

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#36: Amour Spreads - "And so we said, let's make jam!"

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Amour is the French word for love, and that's the perfect way to describe how the local jam company Amour Spreads began. It was in 2011 that John and Casee Francis were looking to start a new chapter in life. They felt they were in a rut with their careers and needed a change, or as they say in the episode… they wanted a sign: something that would signal to them what their next life chapter had in store for them.

It was when Casee and John were hiking in rural Idaho in the summer of 2011 that the sign they wished for appeared. Just not in the way they expected. A few miles from their cabin, they stumbled across a field with thousands of berries. Unable to stop themselves from picking them, they spent the morning filling bails with fresh-picked berries. But what do you do with thousands of berries when there's no way to bring them back to Utah? After some reading online, Casee and John decided to experiment with making jam. And that's where their new journey began.

Their first batches of jam were a hit. Friends and family loved their local, low sugar, high-quality recipes, and John and Casee's interest and excitement grew. Every new batch was an experiment, and what started as a hobby grew into a passion.

With further encouragement from their friends at Pago and Liberty Heights Fresh, John and Casee decided to take the plunge and grow Amour Spreads into a business. With a booth at the Farmer's Market, jam's at Liberty Heights Fresh and Caputos, and partnerships with Pago and Solstice Chocolate, Amour Spreads has quickly established themselves as an essential part of the Utah food scene.

Join us on The Utah Foodie as we sit down with John and Casee and learn how their humble jam interest grew into an award winning, state-wide hit. From the humble beginnings at an Idaho cabin to being a finalist in the Good Food Awards, the only way to go for Amour Spreads is up.

For more information or to browse our episode archive, visittheutahfoodie.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. See you next week!

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#33: Sage's Cafe & Vertical Diner - Vegan and Vegetarian Before it Was Cool.

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Vertical Diner and Sage’s Cafe are two leading restaurants in Utah that promote plant-based foods on their menu, with large offerings of exclusively vegetarian and vegan dishes. Today, vegan and vegetarian menu options aren't uncommon -- but 17 years ago, in 1998, it was rare... and the thought of opening a vegetarian-only restaurant in Salt Lake City seemed impossible.   

It was then that Ian Brandt, owner of Vertical Diner and Sage's Cafe, set out to popularize a non-meat diet (beyond tasteless leafy salads!) and provide better dining options for vegetarians and vegans in Salt Lake City. Brandt started with a small vegetarian, gluten-free food truck --thought to be the state's second-ever food truck to hit the streets-- and peddled his approachable vegetarian food at music venues and popular business locations.

After encouragement from loyal customers, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian alike, Ian Brandt opened his first permanent location. In the late 1990's, and named after Ian's firstborn son, Sage's Cafe was born.

Now today, 17 years later, Brandt runs two successful vegetarian restaurants in Salt Lake City at the center of a significant movement in the veganism movement. Tune in to today's interview with Vertical Diner and Sage's Cafe owner and chef, Ian Brandt, as we discuss why people choose a vegetarian and vegan diet, and talk about the horrors of modern day factory farming and animal cruelty. Join us.

Vertical Diner

801-484-VERT

http://verticaldiner.com/

2280 South West Temple, SLC

 

Sage's Cafe

801-322-3790

http://www.sagescafe.com/

234 West 900 South, SLC

 

For more information or to browse our episode archive, visit theutahfoodie.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. See you next week!

#31: "An Evening Out in SLC" - Food Tips With Foodies

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Welcome to The Utah Foodie! On today’s episode we bring in two of our state's top food writers and critics to help us craft a perfect night out on the town exploring Salt Lake City's food scene.

This is our third installment in our monthly "Food Tips With Foodies" series where we bring in local food experts and talk food for an hour on a pre-selected topic. Last month, we explored Breakfast & Brunch in Utah with Chris Holified of I Am Salt Lake and Chelsea Nelson of Heartbeat Nosh. In October, we brought in Amanda Rock of Amanda Eats SLC and Jeffrey Steadman from Yelp.com to talk Fine Dining options around the state.

Today we’re on with Kathy Stephenson and Heather King:

Kathy Stephenson has been The Tribune food writer since 2000, covering all aspects of eating including dining, alcohol and agriculture. A Utah native, she began working at The Tribune in 1982 while a student at the University of Utah. She honed her journalism skills covering various topics including communities, education and (fun fact) Figure Skating during the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Heather King is a food writer and restaurant critic for The Salt Lake Tribune, Devour Utah, Downtown SLC magazine and Examiner.com. She is the co-founder of The Utah Review where she writes about arts, culture, food and travel. She is the founder of Utah's Ladies Who Lunch groups, a member of the Association of Food Journalists and a proud Great Dane owner.

For more episodes and information, visit theutahfoodie.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

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#25: Allgood Provisions - Responsible Snacking

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Jake Boyd has always been passionate about organic food and environmental sustainability, but didn't know the best way to make an impact. After working full-time and moving to Park City to explore the famous Utah ski slopes, his childhood roots came full circle and he ventured into the food world. Having been raised by parents that grew up farming, the passion and drive to start a company from scratch that focused on non-GMO, sustainable, organic snack foods.

Hence began All Good Provisions, a local Utah company that has expanded to over 400 stores throughout the country. With products in Whole Foods, Caputos, and Liberty Heights, All Good Provisions has exploded throughout the organic food scene. With a focus on highlighting and working with environmentally conscious farmers, Jake and his small team have taken this idea and grown it into a company that is focused on providing delicious, healthy snacks that all are focused on a cause. With one percent of every sale going towards environmental organizations throughout the world, their products have a further reaching impact than the immediate nutritional benefits.

Jake has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their new product, The Oven Stoked Series, and are planning on rolling out more products throughout the state, and throughout the country.

Thank you for listening to The Utah Foodie!

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#19: Zest Kitchen & Bar - Healthy eating with Casey Staker

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Zest Kitchen & Bar is a 3-year old restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City that was launched by Casey Staker in late 2012. It's an organic, vegetarian, gluten-free restaurant with a fresh juice cocktail bar and they’re right on 275 S 200 W — across from Red Rock, right around the corner from Squatter’s and the convention center. Zest is trendy, it’s upscale, and their food is lightweight and healthy. And at night, the cocktails flow — all fresh juice and ingredients but with a creative twist. Drinks like a jalepeño margarita, a ginger spice whiskey cocktail with a fresh apple slice, and a summer beet sangria.

But on the weekend nights, Casey's history in the nightclub business shows through: at 10p on Friday and Saturday nights Zest has music and dancing, and the small vegetarian restaurant goes from dinner to nightclub, with great DJs, music, and club atmosphere.

Casey Staker’s career started in 2004 when he bought in to a new nightclub at the time, the W Lounge. And almost 10 years later, Casey closed it down to pursue his next project — a place he would actually want to hang out at… a restaurant with healthy food and drinks that’s open late, and he could go to on the weekends. So in 2012, Zest Kitchen & Bar was born.

On today's show, we sit down with Casey Staker to talk about his life growing up in rural Utah, to running one of the hottest clubs in Salt Lake City, to today where he works out of Zest, dreaming up healthy food and cocktail menu items, and planning for expansion. Tune in.

 

Zest Kitchen & Bar 275 S 200 W, Salt Lake City 801-433-0589 http://www.zestslc.com

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#15: The Chocolate Conspiracy - A story of healthy eating & a career in chocolate.

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AJ Wentworth attended the world's largest nutrition school in New York City, after spending years as a health coach and working at a retreat center in rural Arizona where he taught his patients about raw food and holistic, healthy living. To put it simply, AJ doesn't have the background you'd expect of a chocolatier.

In NYC, AJ fell in love with the idea of healthy, raw chocolate -- made of real cacao beans and while staying healthy, remaining sweet, and well... like chocolate. So he started making his own version of chocolate in his apartment, and peddled them at school to make a few bucks and get feedback from his fellow classmates.

When he returned home to Salt Lake City, AJ Wentworth opened The Chocolate Conspiracy and today, just six years later, they have a large wholesale presence where they sell in over 10 states, a few countries, and out of their small chocolate shoppe in downtown Salt Lake City at 774 S 300 W.

AJ joins us today to talk about how he reconciles his passion for health, and his passion for sweets... and how he started The Chocolate Conspiracy back in 2009 as a young creative, with no background in business.

Join us on today's show of The Utah Foodie, with AJ Wentworth and our host Chase Murdock.

 

The Chocolate Conspiracy

774 S. 300 W. (Unit A)

Salt Lake City, UT 84101

www.eatchocolateconspiracy.com

 

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#13: Vive Juicery - All About Local, Cold-pressed Juice

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Vive Juicery is cold-press juice shop in Sugarhouse that makes fresh fruit and vegetable juices -- and it's the product of Brittany Thaxton's blood, sweat, and tears over the past two years.

And just this week, Vive is celebrating the grand opening of their second location in downtown Salt Lake City, right by People's Coffee on 219 E Broadway. So today we sit down with Brittany to reflect back on their last two years, starting all the way to their farmer’s market days, to their original Kickstarter campaign that got them the startup capital they needed to make Vive a reality, and all the way up to today, where they have 20 employees, two locations, and press a lot of juice.

Join us today on an episode of The Utah Foodie that takes us through all this and more with Vive Juicery owner Brittany Thaxton and our host Chase Murdock.

Vive Juicery

www.vivejuicery.com

801-824-9190

Sugar House: 1597 S 1100 E

Downtown SLC: 219 E Broadway

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