Today we’d like to introduce you to Julia E. Kesler.
Julia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I began in my grandmother’s kitchen. She was a food writer at Fair Lady Magazine in South Africa for over 30 years. She traveled the world eating and writing about the top hotels. Today, she continues her passion for chefs and the culinary arts as the director and visionary behind the Distell Interhotel Chef’s Challenge.
From my grandmother, my father learned to cook. He was my inspiration in the kitchen growing up. Most kids came home to pizza bites, but not in our house. We had to take the ingredients in the fridge and create something if we wanted a tasty snack. Often that resulted in many different variations of a toasted cheese sandwich (aka grilled cheese).
My background is non-traditional, and I am not a classically trained chef. But I am committed to staying close to the source, as my grandma and father both have- by using the best ingredients and creating relationships with our local farmers. The farmers influence each dish because, without their hard work and sweat, I couldn’t do what I do.
I keep a small garden, and that is only a small bit of effort and work compared to the farmers I work with. Not only am I passionate about the flavors, but I truly believe food is thy medicine. By using whole ingredients, we can promote good health through diet and begin to nourish ourselves and eat ourselves well again.
Lastly, healthy I live by a few principles and hope to inspire others to do the same:
“Only by growing some food for yourself, can you become acquainted with the beautiful energy cycle that revolved from soil to seed. If not grown, learn the origins of your food… the locally produced food supply is the most secure, freshest, and the easiest for local consumers to know about and to influence.”- Wendell Berry
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has been an interesting journey. I have worked in restaurants since I was 14, first as a hostess, the server, and eventually made my way into the kitchen.
I did not set out to be a chef, or have a food business. I originally worked on the non-profit side of food and food justice. My mission was, and still is, to feed as many people as possible good, healthy, food- while supporting farmers. That is not always easy- so I went to New York University and studied Urban Food Access. All through college, I worked in NYC restaurants and several food startups.
To be honest, I was not sure what my role was in the space- I just knew that I needed to be involved with food. So it has taken a while to get here and really find how I best can contribute. Figuring this out has been the biggest challenge.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Stop Think Chew – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Stop Think Chew makes wholesome, healthy, and local eating a part of one’s daily routine. We provide Weekly Personal Chef Services to Atlanta families and run a local brunch pop-up, Brekkie.
BREKKIE is a local, healthy, delicious breakfast and lunch pop up; bringing South African & Mediterranean flavors together with Georgia grown ingredients. I rotate locations including Cultured South, Grant Park Farmers Market, and The Spindle.
I am proud that Stop Think Chew believes in empowering people through food and creating conversation around the table. We believe in supporting our local food system and paying living wages to our servers.
By supporting Stop Think Chew, not only are our clients and customers eating food that will nourish their body and mind- but supporting an ecosystem of people that make this possible. All food is purchased as locally as possible and directly supports Atlanta farmers.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I am hoping to be able to have a space to share with the community, sell local produce and artisanal products, teach cooking classes, and allow other food entrepreneurs to use as an incubation space.
- Website: www.stopthinkchew.com
- Phone: 404-273-9797
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: stopthinkcew
- Facebook: stopthinkchew
Kate Blohm Photogpraphy
Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.
October 17, 2018 at 7:30 pm
Love this piece on Julia!
October 19, 2018 at 11:54 am
What an inspiring young woman you are – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, your grandmother continues to be an icon – good luck on your unique journey Julia 💋
October 21, 2018 at 4:43 pm
Outstanding work Julia You are a true inspiration to people like me who believe in whole and nourishing foods You are doing outstanding work for the community and getting people to lead a healthy lifestyle and what is more important, you love what you do and you are so passionate Love your views on continuing the passion your grandmother had Great job