Native Foodie in the Spotlight: Danny Kessler
by Native Foods Cafe
Another edition of Native Foodie in the Spotlight! Danny Kessler frequents our Culver City location in southern California. He also is a macrobiotic counselor and future vegetable farmer. And that pretty much rules.
Where are you from & what is your sign?
Los Angeles, believe it or not.
What do you do for a living?
I own my own business selling dancewear,
but also I’m a macrobiotic counselor
What do you want to be when you “grow-up”?
When I grow up I want to be a farmer, growing all my own organic fruits and vegetables. Now that’s what I call local.
Wow that’s tricky because there are so many places, but the fantasy place is England. I have some special connection to England which I don’t fully understand, but I can’t deny it.
What should we know about you?
I’m organizing the first ever macrobiotic conference in Los Angeles. October 13th 2012. It should be a great day of learning, fun and lots of vendors too.
If you were to come back as an animal what would you like it to be?
I love bats. Not only are they great pollinators, but they are fantastic fruit and insect eaters as well. In fact , when I was in Costa Rica I went to the only bat museum in the world. I hope my farm has a few bat houses.
Do you have a signature dish you make at home?
Macrobiotics focuses on season cooking, so my spring cooking is different than my summer cooking which is different that my fall cooking etc. But if I had to choose one, it might be my Nishime vegetables cooked in my tagine. With miso tahini dressing
Do you have a favorite vegan recipe you would like to share with us?
I use a tagine, but any heavy bottom pot will work. Line with a tiny amount of water. Place a postage size piece of Kombu on the bottom, and then layer with bite size chunks of root veggies including (but not limited to) onion, carrot, daikon etc. It’s also great with winter squashes like kabocha. Add a pinch of good quality sea salt.
Cover with heavy lid. Bring to a boil and then reduce to low and simmer/steam for twenty minutes until the vegis are “melt in your mouth” soft. The water should be mostly gone. They become very sweet. And are very nourishing for the lower organs.
Then for the dressing I use one part dark miso, and three parts tahini. Ad a little water and mix to desired consistency. I like it kinda thick.
What is your favorite current menu item at Native Foods Café?
The Greek Gyro Bowl
Favorite Native Foods’ dessert?
Another true confession, I don’t eat sweets. Now and then I bake with a little rice syrup, but since 1980 I haven’t had sugar, honey, etc including agave. So I’ve never tried your desserts although I’m sure they are yummy.
What are your favorite bands/ musicians?
I love all music, but I’m a beatles fan first and foremost.
What was your first concert ever?
George Harrison 1974. Whoo!!!
Do you like to dance? If so, what is your favorite song to get down to?
Irony of Ironys. I sell dancewear for a living, but I’ve never taken a dance lesson in my life. Someday
What do you do in your free time?
My free time is divided between exercise and school. I’m one of those life long learners. So I’m always taking classes of some sort or another. Currently I’m enrolled at Emperors College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Chinese medicine really compliments the macrobiotics and I’ve learned a ton. Do I want to stick needles in people? I don’t think so. I believe food is slow medicine, and if we eat properly, there is little need for medicine, western or eastern. Currently I’m taking two classes. Medical Qi gong and the history of Chinese medicine. They are both great.
What is you favorite book and why?
That’s not easy because I love to read. I can’t get enough Victorian fiction, meaning Dickens Collins, Trollope etc.
Do aliens exist?
Yes of course they do. Pretty arrogant to think that in this vast universe we are the only life form. But do they come to earth? Do they have two legs, two arms, a cute little face, two eyes, one nose etc? I don’t think so.
Who do you think has been the most influential person in the past 100 years and why?
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated.”
“I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.”
Chocolate or vanilla?
Neither thanks. Chocolate is too Yang. Vanilla is too Yin.
Tofu, tempeh, or seitan?
Tempeh is the least processed, so I’d go with Tempeh. Some day I’d like to make my own. Maybe I could come to Native Foods Cafe and watch you guys make yours.