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Get to Know p1440’s Chef Amber

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When Chef Amber first started making cherry pies with her Grandma as a 4-year-old girl in Atlanta, she would have never guessed that working with food would become her greatest passion. It also became the key to creating a life that was balanced and healthy right when she would need it the most.

After graduating from Auburn University with a degree in hotel and restaurant management, she embarked on her culinary training in the restaurant industry. Under the tutelage of a prestigious Southern Italian chef, she quickly fell in love with the simplicity and passion of the cuisine. Not too soon after, the chef asked her to move to Hermosa Beach, California to be the executive chef at his new restaurant, Mediterraneo. For nearly ten years she managed Mediterraneo and had the opportunity to travel to Sorrento, Italy and San Sebastian, Spain where she furthered her studies in food and cultivated a deep appreciation for local cuisines.

Amber’s passion for food only grew as each delicious year passed. But as her time spent working as a chef inched towards the 15-year mark, her body began to take a noticeable toll. The long hours on her feet and limited sleep combined with a high-stress work environment was toxic for her mind and body. First, hip pain kicked in, which led to the need for hip scope surgery at just 35 years old. The surgery provided a much-needed wakeup call—she needed something in her life to change. Not too long after surgery, Amber attended a detoxifying spiritual retreat where she first learned about the healing properties of food. With this newfound information, she shifted gears to focus on ways that food—her deepest passion—could be her life’s work and her medicine.

The traditional life of a chef was what strained her body in the first place, so Amber needed to restructure her routine in a way that provided balance and healing. In her heart, she envisioned opening a healthy café with a chef-driven menu that focused on delicious foods that nourish and heal the body as well. When she heard of a neighbor looking to sell a local coffee shop, she knew it was meant to be and opened the Source Café in Hermosa Beach.

The Source Café is five years old now and being a small business owner has been no small feat for Amber. At first, it brought a high-stress lifestyle all on its own. This quickly cued another life lesson—a clean and healthy diet alone is not a cure-all. Adding things like yoga, meditation and regular exercise can help, but Amber discovered the most important ingredient in the recipe for health and wellness is learning to prioritize balance.

At the Source Café and through Amber’s blog, classes and consultations, she can share the healing properties of food and educate others on what self-love really means. Sometimes it’s getting a massage after a long week, other times it’s preparing organic foods for your family and friends, saying no to things that don’t bring you joy, or finding the patience to be still in moments of stress or turmoil. It all comes back to balance and Amber would love to continue to share her journey in finding that in her own life through food and self-love.

Chef Amber’s recipes and cooking demos are available here.

For more information on Chef Amber, visit www.chefamber.com.

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