Given that eating meals are a key experience during a retreat – especially since the food is what people remember most about EarthRise – having the right kitchen leadership is vital. With the recent Executive Chef vacancy, we are proud and excited to announce that our own Deborah Day has stepped into the role, with Erin Singer as Chef de Cuisine. Debbie Day brings almost 14 years of EarthRise kitchen experience along with several nutrition-related certifications to her leadership. We are excited for this new phase in the EarthRise dining experience!
Debbie and I recently explored her new role and what it means for EarthRise.
RUSTY: I hear people remark all the time on how amazing the food is and how they wished they ate this way all the time. What is the EarthRise kitchen’s philosophy when it comes to food?
DEBBIE: EarthRise Kitchen’s mission is to nourish transformation. In my new leadership role, I intend to continue ensuring that our menu planning and execution is creative and intuitive with an emphasis on honoring the ingredients and striving for zero waste. Seasonal, organic (whenever possible), whole, and local ingredients are proudly sourced from our farming partners, who are also our neighbors. The EarthRise Kitchen team is proud to provide the ‘Farm to Fork’ dining experience for our guests.
We serve a diverse population at EarthRise at IONS. We feel a great responsibility and opportunity to nourish the work our guests come here to do in workshops. I take pride in fostering the connection our guests have to the food and dining. We strive to delight all of your senses and meet your nutritional needs. Whether you attend a workshop at EarthRise, work in a lab or office at IONS, or are a visitor to our campus, our staff and menu offerings support your transformational work.
RUSTY: How do you design a meal? I imagine you take into account the season and the groups in house. What other factors? Is it based on a theme?
DEBBIE: Guiding principles for menu planning certainly include things like seasonality, also the weather on each day. One of the benefits of having been here as long as I have is that our returning guests and I have a rapport, so I have a clear understanding of the focus of their workshop and energy and can support them by leading the kitchen team to create a meal that serves their needs. Some groups are doing deep emotional work and need comfort foods at meals, while others are coaches and athletes and need food that fuels their workouts. One of my favorite parts of the job is introducing guests to foods they have never seen or tried before. This is especially exciting for me when I see their palette expanding before my eyes over the course of their event. As a kitchen that strives for zero landfill waste, I also factor in what produce we have on hand and when it is at its peak and needs to be used and how to skillfully repurpose surplus leftovers that need to be utilized.
RUSTY: What is your personal motivation for your years of service to EarthRise clients and guests?
DEBBIE: Good question Rusty! My motivation is the same as anyone whose life has overlapped with the Institute of Noetic Sciences: transformation and growth. Being exposed to all the incredible guests and their work is a huge gift. I am grateful to have found a career here that has yielded such longevity and where my professional and personal growth are supported and aligned with my own values.
RUSTY: Where do you see the kitchen headed in the next few months? Are you seeing any nutritional trends that EarthRise will likely need to adjust to? Any new ideas you’d like to see happen in the future?
DEBBIE: My goal is to lead the kitchen team to nourish our guests mindfully — holistically honoring ourselves, each other, and our guests. When we try our best at this, the benefits ripple outward. Food trends come and go, but preparing whole food, from scratch, from seasonal ingredients, sourced locally, in the traditional manner, with ancient wisdom guiding us is the most nourishing. Joy and harmony and music and laughter are all ingredients in our kitchen. I feel that good Qi is infused into the cooking.
RUSTY: I know some of your recipes are kept secret, but you are also very open to sharing your expertise with our guests. What recipe can you share with us…something unique people can make at home.
DEBBIE: Easily the most frequently requested recipe is for our house-made granola, which is also for sale out of the kitchen. When you see the ingredients list on this recipe, you will see why it is a home run.
|1/2 cup||Raw pumpkin seeds|
|3/4 cup||Whole Almonds|
|1/4 cup||Sesame Seeds|
|1/4 cup||Brown Sugar|
|1 tsp||Sea Salt|
|2 tsp||Ground Cinnamon|
|1 tsp||Ground Nutmeg|
|1/4 cup||Pure Maple Syrup|
|1/2 cup||Coconut Oil, melted (measured after it is melted)|
|3 cups||Glutten-free Oats|
- Measure and mix all dry ingredients.
- Add melted oil and maple syrup to dry ingredients. Mix by hand.
- Spread parchment paper over sheet pan.
- Set oven to 300 degrees. Toast for 15 minutes. Stir. Toast for additional 10 minutes.
- Cool completely. Store in airtight container.
If you’d like to bring your group to EarthRise to experience eating this delicious, nutritious, food, please let us know.