an interview with Dining Details:


check out this cool interview and you'll see why I heart Julie and Robbie and bow to their good taste regarding, food, love and our fabulous planet! xoxosuzanneDownload the original attachmentDescribe yourself in five words.Conscious, Progressive, Intuitive, Detail Oriented, Productive

Describe your craft in five words.Artful, Detailed, Interesting, Purposeful, Inspiring

Complete the sentence: I cannot live without Robbie, (though sometimes can’t live WITH him either, of course J)

Where would you love to live and why?  I would love to live exactly where I live now, in my little house in Cardiff by the Sea. If I wanted to live anywhere else in the world, I just would. I have, so I know I could. I have lived lots of other places… Hawaii, Mexico, Alaska, Santa Barbara, Thailand, Australia… and I have traveled at least another ten countries beyond that, for weeks and months at a time.

Home is where the heart is… and after being a nomad for 6 years- I returned to my roots, and despite the traffic, the high cost of living, and a few other disadvantages about san Diego, I wouldn’t rather live any where else at this point in my life, or else I just would.

What inspires your style?  Comfort, color, and texture. Like food… if it’s not doing something positive for me, I’m not wearing it…. Like high heels.. Uugh. I can’t plan ahead, have to just let my spirit guide me.

Complete the sentence: What world needs now is more conscious people.

What is one of your favorite words?  Shelazie- I think it’s spelled something like that. It’s the part of the egg that is a little squiggly thing attached to the yolk. Is it the yolk, or the white? Neither- it’s the shelazie. It especially cracks me up that our chef, Natalie, bursts out with laughter when she breaks open eggs, exclaiming “Shalazie!” Like “Eureka! I found it!”

What are you proud of yourself for? Why?  I am proud of the success of my business. I am proud that I have authentic relationships with people who trust in me and my business, and I attract genuine, good natured, positive people to work for and with me. You are only as strong as your weakest link, and I seem to have surrounded myself with people who help me succeed.

What is something you would love to accomplish?  Without a doubt… balance. I love to travel and play and exercise and do all sorts of active hobbies and creative art- how to run a business and make time for all of these things is sometimes, well… often, beyond me. I hope to accomplish being a good wife, mother, friend, business owner, and self, all at the same time. Oh yeah, and I will some day right a book. Maybe once I have achieved balance.

What steps has Dining Details taken to reduce their environmental footprint both in and out of the kitchen? The company was founded on the ideals of eco-conciousness and sustainability, and we continue to promote that in and out of the kitchen. Having lived aboard my own small sailboat in Mexico, and aboard yachts, not to mention traveling the world, I have learned a great deal about the earth and its resources, and have developed a profound respect for how much waste we make, how few natural resources we have left, how precious clean water and clean air are, and how mother nature is in trouble… and needs each of us to do our part to help out!We make ethical choices on the ingredients we use, including choosing not to use endangered species of fish in our cuisine, or to use fish that is farmed unsustainably. We choose to use re-usable packaging rather than disposable, even if it is a little less convenient. We recycle, even in homes where recycling options are not always available. We choose products with responsible packaging, and buy from bulk bins. We choose organic foods because pesticides impact our lives in the water we drink, the foods we eat, the air we breathe- and kill the bees. (Bees are our friends! Ask any farmer or gardener!) We make menus seasonally and locally oriented- what is grown close by doesn’t require so much fossil fuel to get from the ground to your table and in your belly. We use environmentally clean products in the kitchen, and in the house, including locally made “EPIC”- which stands for Environmental Products for Important Causes. I could go on… but I think you get the picture. Our company respects the earth and we make even our smallest details reflect that profound respect.

What drives you to use organic and local ingredients in your kitchen? How has the use of these ingredients affected your offerings?You know the Law of Attraction… we are health and environmentally focused, so we naturally attract clients that are also interested and involved in that type of lifestyle. Not all clients are as obsessed with requesting all organic ingredients, but they certainly do notice the difference when they taste our food- the freshness! It might have been picked from the local fields just that day… and they can taste it. I’ll tell you a secret… using the highest quality, organic, freshest ingredients not only feels good to us and to our clients…. It makes our job easy!! We just combine the flavors, but need to “doctor” our food very little. We have to give part of the credit of our success to the farmers, themselves, growing the food- many of we know very personally. It helps to have food that is grown with love, and prepared with love, and served with love… the client feels it from their tongue to their belly to their soul.

What are some options that Dining Details can offer to clients who are hoping to have an eco-friendly soiree?  In all honesty, there are not many options. We do what we do ALL OF THE TIME, not some of the time. Of course, we could be even more eco friendly… and we constantly try to learn more, improve our practices, and be even more eco friendly. But all in all, we don’t give clients the option of whether they want a clean and green service- it just will be that. Some clients specifically request 100% organic- of course we love that! For everyone else, let’s just say… mostly organic, but always 100% natural and clean, and as local and seasonal as we can find it. If you want a company the offers both options… green or not green… Dining Details might not be the right company for you!

Is it challenging to sustain an eco-friendly business while working outside of your own kitchen? It is challenging, in that we work in clients’ kitchens about every week or every few weeks, and there are systems and products in place with the housekeepers, staff, and clients, themselves, that are hard to change. I try to take baby steps with clients, first educating them about food, and the importance of eating locally, seasonally, and organically. I teach them about harmful ingredients, unsustainable practices, and issues that affect them and the world. I might recycle when I am working, and use eco-friendly products, but the rest of the week, they do what they have always done. We do what we can, and educate as much as the client will listen.Working in commercial kitchens can be challenging too, as cleaning products are mandated by the government and health board and whoever else… there are products out there that do the same job as bleach, without polluting the earth…and we know about them, but the rule makers may not, so it’s a tough balance to keep our practices both ethical and legally acceptable. Unfortunately for everyone, the people in charge are sometimes the least educated about such things.

What are the top three things that you would recommend to clients to make their special event eco-chic (please feel free to answer with ideas that you may offer or have seen offered- food, design, travel, etc)?  A gazillion things come to mind. I’ll tell you the first ones that come to mind.-Request a local and seasonal menu. We have so much grown locally- your food will travel short and taste fresh. The same goes for your flowers selections.-Choose an eco friendly honeymoon destination- not a cruise or a mega-polluting time share resort… there are eco friendly choices on every continent. Or go camping and backpacking, remembering that old scout law… take only pictures, leave only footprints.-Do you really need more Industrial produced STUFF? What are you going to do with STUFF you already have? If you are registering for material things, make sure to recycle and reuse what you can with the old. Or, like we are doing for our wedding, register for honeymoon activities like eco-friendly lodges, bicycle tours, kayaking adventures, etc. Or, better yet, register for your guests to donate to worldly causes, like coral reef rehab projects or rainforest rehabilitation projects.

I will share our company manifesto with you here:

Dining Details ManifestoWe believe in creating memories for people and between people through food.

We believe in bringing families and friends together, to enjoy each other’s company without worry or responsibility.

We believe in exciting and enlivening people through creative mastery and inspired artfulness of quality cuisine.

We believe dining should be an experience that satisfies, nourishes, and improves you.

We believe in making people say “Wow.”

We believe in going the extra mile to make sure that our clients and their guests’ expectations are exceeded beyond their imagination.

We believe in flavor explosions.We believe in using ingredients that were picked the day, or even the week, that we are using them in our food.

We believe in what is natural and what is real.We believe that food heals, and that we have the responsibility to help people reach their health and healing goals through quality ingredients and our preparation of food.

We believe food shouldn’t have to travel more than a hundred miles to get to our plate.

We believe that the earth and mother nature are miraculous, and need to be nurtured, respected, and obeyed.

We believe in education, sharing what we know about sustainability, ethical farming, and why we use organic foods.

We believe the foods we use and the foods we eat reflect our respect for the earth and future generations.

We believe the quality of the food you eat directly reflects the quality of life that you experience.

We believe in making people happy and satisfied from good food, nourishing them from their eyes to their taste buds to their stomachs, all the way down to their soul.We believe food is precious, and that we should all eat more deliberately.