Chef Joni Sare, 2019
I like to cook, but more so — I like to teach others how to cook.
I’ve been cooking professionally since 2005, and I’ve been in the health field for decades starting with my forays into achieving wellness for myself through food (in 1988). That journey led me to the esteemed Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts, where I graduated in 2006 and 2007, as a Nutrition Educator and Natural Chef, respectively.
I became a Therapeutic Chef to help others make the necessary nutritional changes to provide for a healthy future for themselves, their families and their communities. I believe once individuals benefit from self-nurturing and healthful nourishment, they are then capable of sharing those benefits with others, which will holistically benefit everyone. Like so many other nutritionists, I started my professional journey by healing myself.
IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome
As a child, I had a severe case of what general medical physicians now call: Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The pain was daily, yet tolerable. Constipation, abdominal cramps, restless sleep, and brain fog were the norm. A cure or a relief did not occur to me.
As I look back I can say I was a sugarholic. Coming home from elementary school, I’d binged on ice cream, cereal, peanut butter & jelly toast, and sugary drinks. I had restless nights and often, my brain fog would not lift until noon.
The “Juiceman” infomercial, 1991
In 1991, at age 30, I bought my first vegetable juicer from the “JuiceMan” infomercial and my journey towards a therapeutic chef began. I focused on healing and nourishing myself with food. I began to recognize the destructiveness of sugar, alcohol, and lack of sleep. A whole new world opened up with the introduction to Ayurvedic and Macrobiotic cuisines and herbal tonics. I felt empowered and, for the first time, real relief.
Elimination diet: no wheat for 3 weeks
I realized that I felt terrible within a couple of hours after eating pizza, pasta or breads. Sometimes I would have severe abdominal cramps, that would put me on the floor. So, in 1995, as a personal experiment, I stopped eating wheat for three weeks.
Those weeks of being wheat-free were the start of the next leg of my journey. I began to feel normal. I was empowered, I recognized others’ discomforts. I could empathize with them.
I liked to talk about what I was reading and about the effective changes I was making. I was working at the Contra Costa Times newspaper with 700+ people in the building. People noticed and asked questions, we would meet in the cafeteria during breaks. They followed my suggestions and had success, too. I was inspired to learn more, to share more.
Bauman College Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts
When layoffs at the newspaper were imminent, I decided to take my passion to the next level and become a nutrition consultant. Midway through the program, I found the joy of cooking and creating my own recipes. Once the Nutrition Educator program was over, I immediately started the Natural Chef program.
I immersed myself in nutrition, food and cooking, mental and physical therapy, and got involved with the community. Living my passion has facilitated my personal and professional growth in many ways. I promise you the same attention and support that I have received. My goal is to ignite love and passion for food and cooking.
Highlights of my career
- Cooking for 40 people, every Sunday
- Morocco yoga retreat
- Executive Director, Health Medicine Forum
- Moving to Silicon Valley
- Dialog Dinners
- Weekend retreats
- Hawaii retreat
- Co-author with Dave Asprey, Bulletproof “Upgraded Chef” cookbook
- Cooking for Jed and Danielle York, owners of the 49ers
- Winner: “Best Personal Chef in Silicon Valley”
- Media: national, state, and local magazines
- A local chef competition