A popular gathering spot for locals and visitors alike, the Café has become synonymous with healthy dining with a gourmet flair, offering nourishing food to sustain a path to vital health.
Erik Stenberg has been cooking in restaurants, homes, and event sites all over the world for more than fifteen years. He began cooking as a young boy growing up in Hood River, OR, as the third of nine kids. Together with their mom, the kids canned, jammed and preserved the summer bounty to last through the winter. His biggest inspiration, however, has come from living in Santa Barbara County, where his passion for cultivating food in his backyard and foraging for it in the wild has thrived.
“My specialty is spontaneity,” explains Stenberg. “In the same way that I walk through the garden or the market and let my body tell me what I should eat, I bring food into the kitchen and let my body tell me how it should be prepared.”
The result is something he calls “mother’s intuition.” He believes that if we live a balanced life and listen to our cravings, we’ll end up feeding ourselves exactly what we need, in the same way that a mother naturally knows how to care for her family.
“Erik’s philosophy is so in line with what we do at Alchemy,” says Narachi. “Food is our first and best medicine, and the foundation of all our healing programs at Alchemy.”
Stenberg first landed in Santa Barbara, Calif. in 2008, where his connection to the land, growing food, raising animals, fishing and foraging gave him an entirely new perspective on preparing food. His experience selling produce at farmers markets in Santa Monica and Santa Barbara allowed him to help launch the Out of the Box Collective, a delivery service delivering high-quality food products, recipes and meal plans to homes in the area. In 2011, Stenberg co-created a monthly dinner series called Meet the Farmer, where guests enjoyed seven-course tasting menus of a local farmer’s bounty while sharing the table with the farmer himself. All the while Stenberg worked as a personal chef for a Santa Barbara family, providing him with the opportunity to be creative five nights a week preparing organic, vegetarian meals.
Since graduating from Johnson and Wales University’s culinary arts program in 2002, Stenberg has been absorbing lessons in kitchens all over the world, from Italy and Wales to Maui and Colorado.
About Alchemy Arts Center
Opened in March 2011, the center’s aim is to work to achieve guests’ health goals, and to facilitate the changes necessary to increase quality of life through diet, health treatments and bodywork. Designed by owner Emma Narachi, the architecturally-stunning Moroccan-style retreat offers restorative treatments including massage, acupuncture, reiki, shiatsu, sound healing, Pilates, yoga and hydrotherapy. Wellness programs are designed to guide guests toward optimal health and levels of energy, as well as better diet and lifestyle choices and include nutrition, health coaching, cleanse/detox and stress management.
Alchemy also offers special programs, events and lecture series throughout the year. www.alchemyartscenter.com