Leafy Cafe News, Logos, Interns, Part 2... up next time, Barbecue and Southern Soul!

Things are moving right along here at the Leafy Cafe, with only 3 weeks until my departure for points north. It feels a little odd to be leaving the Leafy Cafe and all of the new friends I have made these last six months (as well as the regular visits from old friends) and I will miss everyone so much! Many of my regular subscribers actually head away from GA for the Summers and Maine is calling strong as the temps here hit the upper 90s and my email box fills with requests for cooking classes and meals to go-go up in that neck of the woods. My plan is to leave at the end of June. But, what will happen with the Meals to Go-Go service??? Who will prepare healthy, delicious meals (which happen to be vegan) for my clients?? In comes intern, assistant, and fabulous blossoming chef-dietitian Katie Sims!!
Katie in the Leafy Kitchen! We love our view of the pool don't we Katie!!

Someone's in the Kitchen with MiMi! Yes, this is Miss Katie Mae! Katie first began working in professional kitchens when she was 19 and living in Athens, GA. which sparked her love of professional cooking and her love for the community. While living in Athens also worked at a local co-op grocery where she learned about health food, eating mindfully, and being aware of where food comes from. Here is more about Katie in her own words:
"It was the first place I ever heard the word "gluten". I made sandwiches, stocked shelves, and refilled bulk bins. I volunteered my days off on some local organic farms weeding, harvesting, and a number of dirty jobs, where my passion for connecting with food began. I got an opportunity to work on some land, I should say, in Trujillo, Peru in the year 2008. I say "land" because It was in no way a "farm". It was this vast field in the middle of the desert, owned by this sweet family who desperately wanted to start an organic farm. Most of my work included clearing the soil of any debris to be considered for organic certification, transferring whatever wild crop there was into neat rows, trail and error style of planting, creating aqueducts, massive weeding with nothing but a machete, and playing with baby goats, cows and chickens of course. 
For a short amount of time I managed the front of the house at Turtle Island Natural Foods where I learned a lot about plant based cooking from Chef Sean Sigman (owner of Dig Foods Inc in Jacksonville). Beet risotto and his curried tempeh salad were my favorites. (sounds great Katie, can you  make us some??)
After many years of traveling, reading, eating and meeting some amazing people, I decided that my love of people and my love of food have found a way together. I am currently in school acquiring my prerequisites for the nutrition/dietetics program at University of North Florida, which I will start in the fall of 2015. "

Katie loves to chat about food, tea, health, etc. And she is a great singer! She's a great addition to the Leafy Cafe team!

When I started to think about how I could leave the Leafy Meal Service up and running while I was away, it seemed impossible. Luckily, another luncheon with a wise friend revealed a suggestion which made sense. What about an intern?? I inquired with my local chef friends and even with the head of our local college Culinary Program and the response was always the same.... "Our students want to learn how to cook MEAT! They don't want to be involved with any veggie thing!!" Well, I couldn't really believe this response, learning to cook healthy, plant-based meals, especially in today's culinary environment, would be a PLUS on anyone's resume, vegan or not! Its like broadening your repertoire by learning how to cook Italian or Asian!! So, I put my thinking cap back on and cast the net a little further. I started writing to every culinary institute, including raw foods and vegan/healthy establishments in search of the right person. I had not one single reply! I was offering beautiful accommodations, training, and a stipend... more than most internships! I think the going rate is YOU PAY THEM for the opportunity to learn! I was beginning to get discouraged and convincing myself of shutting down the service for the Summer while away. One day, while I was shopping for the meals, I ran into Katie. Pure serendipity once again!! I did not really know Katie but knew of her. I actually remember her as sweet a little girl hanging out with her mom. I had not seen her in years until Chef Charles brought her over to the house and raved about her walnut pesto!! That was about 2 years ago. Katie was working in a local restaurant (the same one where I was lunching with cool gal & artist) so we became a little more familiar with each other. I learned Katie was interested in cooking and studying nutrition, and already knew a lot!!! I wondered if Katie might be interested in the Meal Service but knew she had a job and a place to live. I sort of was thinking about an out of towner from Atlanta who wanted to live at the coast for the Summer. 
When I ran into Katie in the Harris Teeter parking lot, I just blurted out how happy I was to see her and what I had in my head... Are you interested in being my intern/assistant/manager of the Leafy Cafe Meals to Go-Go????? SHE SAID YES!!!! The rest is history. Katie came on board just as Hannah was departing and has been wowing me and the clients with fabulous food. Those Lettuce Wraps, the Green Curry/Forbidden Rice, etc. all have come from Katie's magic hands. Next week, she takes over the entire service. I will be present to do some dishes and watch over her but otherwise, she is up and in charge! Katie might benefit from a dishwasher from time to time if there are any willing volunteers out there, let us know. 

Katie brings herbs and food from her garden to the Leafy!! Artist Ed Hose came over the the Leafy Cafe one Sunday and drew the fabulous leafy gals on the newly painted cafe walls.

I have no worries leaving Katie at the helm of the Meals to Go-Go service. Katie will continue to have overage on some items from the meal service which are available on a first come/first serve basis for purchase if you forget to order or if you just want to sample an item or two. She will work in some healthy & delicious muffins and brownies for y'all to try too! I think she is talking about CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI muffins, Yumbo!! 

Katie is very familiar with the Law of the Leafy: 
  • LOW or NO Salt, Oil (butter or anything) and Sugar. 
  • Nothing refined or processed
  • As LOCAL & or ORGANIC as possible
  • Gluten Free at most times, unless it is unavoidable for the outcome of deliciousness 
  • ALWAYS Dairy Free Vegetarian (no eggs, no meat or animal products whatsoever) 

While I am away physically, I will still be quite "hands on" with running the meal service. The other functions of the cafe such as catering, cooking classes, etc. will shut down until my return in late September. Nutritional Counseling will still be available via SKYPE or PHONE. 

Can I hear a big Whoop Whoop for Katie?? 
Life is good here at the Leafy!!



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