1. Tracy you are native South African and recently opened a restaurant called "Deliteful" that has become one of my favorite places to hang out. Tell us why you moved from South Africa and the unique concept behind your restaurant that makes it so different?
I was actually born in Zimbabwe and my parents moved when I was 5 years old to South Africa. We love South Africa - it is a beautiful country and the people are amazing, but the political climate is really unstable, add to that, the crime rate and you have a very volatile country. We have 2 daughters and decided to move for their benefit. We chose southern California as the lifestyle and climate is very similar to Johannesburg, plus we met a family on a cruise who we became friends with, who live here.
My background is in holistic health and nutrition and my passion is helping people eat healthily. One thing led to another and eventually to opening a restaurant. A restaurant that focuses on eating food prepared healthily. Contrary to what we have been told over the last 30 or so years, saturated fat and fat in general, is not the enemy. Sugar is in fact to blame for the rise in diabetes, heart disease and many of the other leading chronic diseases many suffer from today. So Deliteful focuses on reducing sugar without replacing it with chemical sweeteners. Sugar comes in many forms - for example we don’t think of bread, or potatoes and rice as sugar, but it essentially is - as our bodies turn it into sugar in the digestion process with ease. So at Deliteful we make pizza bases out of cauliflower and we replace pasta with spaghetti squash and zucchini noodles. These vegetables are all higher in fiber which slows down the conversion of any carbohydrate into sugar, plus they contain vital vitamins, minerals and other beneficial micronutrients, making them a far healthier food choice than the refined items they replace. website - www.delitefulemeals.com
2. Why are you so passionate about clean and healthy eating?
This question makes me giggle as my family calls me the food Nazi. What we put in our mouths is the biggest factor we have in our control to affect our health, so I try to make sure that when I cook for my family I am improving their health. This is why at Deliteful we prepare everything fresh to order on the premises without the addition of artificial or chemical ingredients. We started out completely sugar and gluten free, but have incorporated a few items into our menu now so that we serve something for everyone.
I have already mentioned, we have all been incorrectly informed about what makes a healthy meal. For years we've believed that if our meal contained a good helping of grains we were being healthy. However, science is now proving this wrong. If we never ate another portion of grains (bread, rice, pasta, oats etc) again, and cut out processed sugar (for example cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup to mention 2), we would be better off for it - obesity rates would be lower, heart health would improve, diabetes rates would plummet. That’s not all - there would be absolutely zero adverse effect from cutting out this food group. We obtain more than enough fiber, nutrients and energy from vegetables and fruit - we do not need grains or processed sugar in our diet at all for any reason.
Equally important is the quality of our food from the perspective of the chemicals and artificial ingredients. You wouldn’t believe the artificial chemical cr*p that goes into our food production. How these items get approval from the FDA is beyond me. They have zero nutritional benefit. They are added to our food to extend the shelf life, improve the taste of fake food and make you eat more so the manufacturer can make more money. Clean food is the term used now for real food. Food that is made without the addition of these non food chemicals. These chemicals and artificial ingredients can increase your risk of so many health problems, from cancer to Alzheimers and everything in between. I can get a little carried away on this subject, so will leave it here - but I am so passionate about this because people are very unaware of the rubbish they eat.
3. What plans do you have for "Deliteful's" one year celebration?
We are so excited to be turning 1 years old. We are making the most out of it and celebrating the whole day. We will have a ‘Food Network Live’ event on our outdoor patio with our wonderful Chef Karen and celebrity chefs doing cooking demonstrations. We are hoping you Devin will join us for this and cook some delicious Cajun meal. We will have all day entertainment with live artists and comedians. With any luck we will have Ronn Moss and Friends perform in the evening - just putting it out there :-) We are fundraising for a charity close to our hearts - Pay It Forward For A Better LA. They assist children in need. It is going to be a fun filled day indeed.
4. Will you open more "Deliteful" restaurants?
This is the plan. We need more restaurants that are focused on health and not only tasty food. We have proven that you can cook both healthy and tasty food at the same time. The two are not mutually exclusive. I hate going to a restaurant and redesigning my own meal - requesting them to hold this and add that etc, to make their unhealthy meals into healthier versions, and it turns out there are many people that feel the same way I do. We have many repeat customers that dine with us multiple times each week. Anyone can cook healthy food at home, but it’s not easy today to find healthy food when dining out and we consider our regular customers family.
5. What kinds of events are coming to “Deliteful”
We are planning, planning and planning :-) Coming up is a monthly Comedy night. Our first one is on April 27th and we will continue hosting this every last Thursday of the month. We have a weekly Trivia night every Wednesday, starting May 10th. We are planning more wine pairing dinners, in fact we are planning one for your birthday Devin in June. During the summer we are planning movie nights and a kids schedule which will include fashion shows and tea parties. We are implementing a build your own pizza station for the kids and a build your own sundae where the kids actually make their own pizza and sundae. We have the best Happy Hour from Monday to Thursday, 4 - 7pm and Friday & Saturday 8:30 - 10pm. Once our International Menu special ends we are planning a South African month, and a Cajun month. We have live entertainment on Saturday nights and Sunday from 12 - 3pm. Our outdoor patio is so beautiful during the spring and summer. Follow us on Facebook - www.facebook.com/delitefulmeals or sign up for our newsletter on our website to keep up to date on everything going on at Deliteful. We have so many great things planned.