Yesterday we chatted with Nicole Hudson, chef and co-owner of Conscious Cafe (see here for part 1.) Each of the dozen tables is equipped with a deck of cards, some with dominoes. It's a prime neighborhood hangout, and the Muslim-owned restaurant it caters to everyone.
EOW: During Ramadan, do you just cook all day and not eat?
NH: I normally try not to eat until between four and six anyway... I eat one meal a day. We try to eat that way so that we don't overwork our intestines, tear them out. So it wasn't as hard.
Last year's Ramadan was a little harder because I was still in the groove of cooking, and I had to taste it. Now, I have everything down pat. I know what goes in what and how much goes in this. And then if I was unsure? If a customer came in I'd say, "Taste this, what do you think?"
EOW: Whoa whoa whoa. Um, you eat one meal a day? Can you describe your daily routine?
NH: (laughs) I work out in the mornings, and then I come here to the café. Most of the time when I get here I drink a bottle or two of water, and then I'm cooking. Throughout the day, I don't snack a lot. Between the hours of four and six, I make a meal. I try to eat a full, wholesome meal, not a fast meal. I try to sit down and take time to eat my food, so that it properly digests and I can get all the nutrients I need.
EOW: What do you eat?
NH: I may have an avocado sandwich, a bowl -- maybe two -- of bean soup, I'll make a Malt-O-Meal muffin (we use Malt-O-Meal instead of corn meal.) Then I'll make sure I have something sweet, either a cookie or a slice of bean pie. I take my time, even if it takes me two hours.
EOW: Impressive. Tell me about your customers.
NH: I have all kinds of customers. We are a Muslim establishment. I had a gentleman come in, a really nice gentleman. He was a white guy, and he was gay. He came in, and you could tell from his demeanor that he already read about us...he said, "So, are you the people that don't like white people?" So rude, right? So I said, "Wow. Where did you hear that?" He goes, "That's what people say!"
I said, "People say things all the time that are not true! Would I be serving you if I didn't like you?" He said, "Well, I guess not." I said, "So what do I need to do, give you a hug?" He said, "Well that might work." So I came around the counter and gave him a hug. It was probably about five o'clock and he sat with us until we closed. We were cleaning up, and he was still sitting here talking the whole time.
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There's no hate. I think I'm the most lovable person. And I love what I do. I'm here because I want people to be here forever and ever and ever.
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