Let thy food be thy medicine, wise words from Hippocrates, the father of medicine, spoken almost 2500 years ago. Unfortunately much of today’s food is making us sick and we need to rethink what we eat so that our food can once again make us and keep us healthy.
The birth of Seed has quite an interesting history steeped in the tradition of food as medicine. French trained chef Eric Lechasseur came to America, from Quebec, 18 years ago after meeting his wife Sanae Suzuki in Mexico….talk about an international beginning. Soon after his arrival Sanae was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and since she had no medical insurance she had to search for a natural remedy. Food became her medicine and being a chef Eric was inspired to learn how to cook the food that Sanae had taught him would heal her.
Being a French chef Eric had no interest in eating this food so he lovingly cooked for Sanae but didn’t eat the macrobiotic food that he was learning to turn into delicious meals. Sanae was healed from cancer and continued this new way of eating while Eric maintained his old habits. Eric developed skin allergies that affected his hands, disastrous for a chef, and had to receive cortisone shots monthly, which eventually increased to twice weekly.
One day Sanae suggested that maybe it was time that he also change his way of eating. Eric was ready and began a 90 day radical beginning into eating exclusively macrobiotic food. He told me the first 40 days were really hard and he was full of doubt, but he saw no other alternative so he persevered. At the end of 90 days his skin problems were completely gone. They have returned only once, when six months later he was at a bar-b-q and decided to try eating meat again. Within 36 hours he once again had the same skin problems….that was it for him and since then he is totally committed to this lifestyle.
Sanae and Eric’s path to opening Seed continued with many different involvements in the macrobiotic food world of Los Angeles. She worked as the macrobiotic consultant at Erewhon, they had a food delivery company, they also started a packaged food business selling the meals to local organic markets. None of these were really sustainable financially and then they began a monthly dinner club, which became a huge success. This led to work as a personal chef and some of their clients included Madonna and Tobey Maquire. Eric was one of Los Angeles’ celebrity personal chefs preparing amazing macrobiotic-vegan meals. It was out of necessity that he created healthy deserts that fit this criteria.
Then came the dream of creating a cookbook to share these recipes. After one false start the project manifested and the cookbook was completed containing many celebrity endorsements. The restaurant was next but in between he was one of two chefs who started M Cafe, the Chaya restaurants foray into macrobiotic. Eric’s realtor called him one day saying that she had found the right location for him, but when he entered he was shocked–the place was a disaster. But with encouragement from the owners who had a new vision for their property and repeated visits to the area Eric and Sanae said yes. They had ninety days to re-open and miraculously were ready in 60 and opened on election day 2008! Talk about a new beginning.
The commitment at Seed to sustainability is obvious from the food that they use: local, organically produced whenever possible, no animal products, dairy, eggs or refined sugar, to the recycling bins. The cafe is furnished with reclaimed wood furniture, energy efficient lighting and soy candles. Reducing energy use is always a goal. No microwaves are used nor non-stick pans, using only stainless steel or cast iron. Only “green” soaps and ecologically safe cleaning products are used.
They believe that “in the same way that a seed provides the beginnings for a vibrant plant, the food we eat provides the beginnings for a vibrant, flourishing life.” Committed to their customers, they have started a community night every second Tuesday to educate and inform the public on a variety of subjects. Sanae is often the speaker as well as invited guests.
Now, about the food….can we say delicious in every way and you will not miss a thing. With a wide ranging menu from salads, burgers (made from beans and grain), curry & rice bowls and panini sandwiches it is hard to choose what to eat so frequent visits are the solution, and be sure to try the sweet potato fries. The deserts are made with maple or brown rice sweetener and are amazing! I had the coconut mousse, supposedly Madonna’s favorite desert and now I know why. Next visit I must try the chocolate mousse terrine and a new addition is tiramisu. Eric also makes cupcakes, cookies and chocolate truffles and on the weekend muffins and scones. What a relief to find a place where one can indulge in delicious deserts knowing that they are healthy… in moderation of course.
So for those of you lucky enough to live in Los Angeles, or there for a visit, be sure to visit Seed. You can also throw in a nice walk on the beach afterwards since it is just down the block. At Seed you will find food that can heal you plus Eric and Sanae’s devotion to helping others heal, so you will find support on your road to healing. And for the rest of you in good health you will find delicious, creative, clean and sustainable food to keep you feeling great.
Say hi from Michelle at SmartLifeways when you make it in and maybe we will see each other there the next time that I am in L.A..
Seed is located at 1604 Pacific Avenue, just behind the Venice post office.
Their phone number is 310 396 1604
They are open daily 10am to 9pm