I love food. Not just the flavors, but the whole experience. I have fond memories as a kid walking into the kitchen an hour before dinner and asking my Mom what she was making. Everything was always so good that I’d stick around long enough to nab something out of the pan right before I would hear, “don’t do that!” I remember the special Saturdays that my Dad would make his spaghetti and meatballs. The sauce would cook all day, slowly simmering until it reached the perfect flavor. My sisters and I would stand in line and wait for a little taste off the wooden spoon. Dinnertime in our house was always the best part of the day. We had good conversation, good laughs and, of course, good food. These moments have inspired me to pass along these traditions to not only my wife and son, but also to my community. I believe that we have opened a place that encompasses everything special about eating great food with friends and family. So enjoy - from our kitchen to your table.
Growing up down in Virginia Beach, with water on two sides of us and small family farms on another, I was surrounded by amazing local food. I remember the annual family trip to the Strawberry Festival out in Pungo, where we would eat our fill of locally-grown strawberries in every form you can imagine, then pick some of our own to take home; those late-summer weekends when we would head over to Grandpa’s house on the Chesapeake Bay to catch fresh crabs for dinner; the Sunday afternoon when we would finally get to cut open the first watermelon of the season, that I had been anxiously watching grow in our backyard garden for weeks. From early on, one thing was always very clear: fresh, local food simply TASTES better. Over the years, my outlook on food has varied. I was vegan for a number of years, and at one point or another, I’ve subscribed to nearly every trendy approach to eating there is. But I have since returned to my roots, and my food philosophy today is overtly simple: GOOD FOOD FROM AROUND HERE.
My connection with and passion for food runs about as deep as it gets. I graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in May 2014 with an English Literature degree and a focus in Environmental Studies. I've worked on numerous organic and biodynamic farms, cooked within a farm to table restaurant, sliced meat within a deli at a local farm to table grocery store and interned for a local soup kitchen to help create a sustainable food product. I believe in the idea that everyone should have access to local and organic food. That's why joining the LoKL team was an easy choice for me. They value their community, their customers and their surrounding environment; taking care of each one as it should be respectively. As I look back on my childhood memories of my mother cooking and my father gardening I can taste the sweetness of such nostalgia. That's the feeling I want our food to inspire in others. Food is designed by what we envision within ourselves, that's why we try and do right be our customers, our community and our earth.
I came to this country nine years ago without any idea of what I wanted to pursue in life. I applied for a job at a local health food store and deli without any cooking experience, but I had the desire to learn. This was the place that my culinary inspiration was ignited. I found myself cooking recipes from cultures all around the world. My appreciation for different flavors allowed me to get back to my roots an experiment with spices that I grew up with and develop my own personal style. Along the way I learned that good food could also be good for you too. Simply by using locally-sourced clean ingredients, we developed a menu that is fresh and nutritious so our customers can enjoy their food and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
While we understand the importance of a healthy diet, we are often so busy that nutritious food preparation falls to the wayside. I consider myself a picky eater, both from a quality and taste perspective. I know there are many others in the neighborhood that share my selectiveness. With these needs in mind, our team began developing high-quality, nutritious, convenient food and drinks. We are very happy to be able to share these with you.
We are surrounded by a world revolving around instant gratification. But, I think modern food culture should lead us to ask more than just, "How can I satisfy the cravings and thirst of the moment?" It should create an honest yearning for us to slow down, really know our food, where it comes from, and how it impacts our bodies and our communities. Then, as we consume and replenish, we can really feel good about what we're eating, our bodies will become positively energized, and we can go out and make some truly positive impacts in our communities. That's what modern food is about. And that's what LoKL Gourmet seeks to encourage.