Issue 1 » The Chef from Outer Space
LaRue Palmer, former SpaceX Chef describes his journey of feeding 4,000 employees a day, and how that led him to becoming a nutritional expert and diabetes educator.
3W: LaRue – let’s get right down to it. SpaceX? Are you kidding me? That has got to be the coolest place to work, let alone being a chef for Elon Musk and his 4,000 employees!
LaRue: It was indeed. As a career chef it was quite an honor to be selected to embark upon a once-in-a-lifetime journey to open a new restaurant in a most unique setting. Elon Musk, Founder and CEO of SpaceX as well as Tesla Motors and SolarCity, decided to build a state-of-the-art restaurant filling an enormous empty space right in the middle of his rocket plant in Hawthorne, California.
3W: Wow, so how did you manage to land an opportunity to become a chef to the stars, so to speak?
LaRue: A friend of mine told me about the opportunity. Let’s just say it wasn’t a difficult decision to become part of the opening team of a corporate café that fed 4,000+ employees at SpaceX working for a man whose mission it was to colonize Mars.
3W: Okay, it’s not like you’re calling the kids down for dinner, you’re calling 4,000+ employees, managing their palatal expectations all day, every day – how did you do it?
LaRue: The belief was that having a corporate feeder would reduce employee downtime off campus getting meals, while at the same time providing healthier food options for employees than fast food, thus improving productivity and employee health outcomes.
3W: Corporate Feeder?! Yikes! Somehow that sounds like an episode out of Twilight Zone. “To Serve Man.”
It’s a cookbook! So how did you go about creating a menu for that many people?
LaRue: The sous chefs would painstakingly collaborate on menus for a number of outlets one to two weeks in advance. But the biggest challenge was to come up with a way to feed 4,000 hungry employees who were used to dining off of food trucks and fast food restaurants within a 30-minute break time in some cases. When the restaurant, dubbed “The Launch Pad” was ready for opening day, we decided to just open the doors and let them come. It was a madhouse for the first couple of months because all employees ate for free.
3W: So give me an idea of what kinds of foods they ate?
LaRue: We served the highest quality of high-end cuts of beef, chicken, seafood and even exotic meats like elk, wild boar and gator, starches, grains and vegetables. The Launch Pad quickly became the nucleus of our food service department which eventually expanded to multiple restaurants and satellite outlets.
3W: I see, so this led to your own SpaceX-ploration into becoming an expert in nutrition?
LaRue: Yes. I was given an opportunity to become an expert juicer, creating healthy vegetable and fruit juice offerings daily, choosing from an unlimited selection of ingredients that would rival any juice stand in America. I created a number of highly nutrient-dense recipes and managed an enormous island of a salad bar, creating a plethora of plant-based options that became the centerpiece of every meal service. This is where I could really stretch my creativity in plant-based nutrition as I learned the benefits of such a diet and lifestyle. It was like having my very own food lab.
I realized that becoming the go-to person for all things nutrition meant that I would have to bolster my knowledge with some formal training, so I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and became certified as an integrative health coach. As an integrative health coach I take a non-traditional approach to health and wellness by addressing the cause and the symptom of disease through whole food nutrition. My job is to assume the role of an accountability partner and help my clients keep the commitments they make with themselves to take better care of themselves so that they maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid chronic diseases.
3W: And what is the significance of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition?
LaRue: The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) created a ripple effect that has become a global shift to better health which seeks a balance in all areas of life, and is pushing established norms with its holistic approach to health and wellness. I’ve since rounded out my education with a certification as a diabetes educator. My curriculum at IIN taught me how to merge my skill set into a business model that is unique but effective
in treating chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes. In many ways the sum of what we have today is not health care but “disease care.” Hippocrates once said: “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” My program, called Dietbetic Healing, focuses on Type 2 diabetes which has reached epidemic levels in our country, so this Hippocratic quote is my mantra because lifestyle change and diet modification through whole food nutrition is the basis.
3W: So you saw a connection between food and disease and created a solution-based program to help people get away from poor food choices which lead to obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases?
LaRue: That’s right. We consult with businesses seeking to learn more about the benefits wellness can bring to their employees, and in the process they come to realize that corporate wellness programs increase productivity, improve employee satisfaction and in some cases can even help lower medical insurance premiums through their insurance carrier.
3W: How can people reach out to you and benefit from what you have to offer?
LaRue: My partner, Dr. Tyra Beavers has been in practice for over 20 years with a thriving business, and what
we’ve done is incorporate my Dietbetic Healing program within the chiropractic practice, which treats Type 2 diabetes by first providing chiropractic health to enhance the body’s response to whole food nutrition, then we focus on meaningful lifestyle change through coaching. Now our patients have a well-rounded, carefully conceived holistic wellness program that also includes yoga, Pilates and massage therapy. I also do coaching through Skype or over the phone with clients literally across the globe. My clients spend less time on medication or in the hospital, and more time leading vital, active lives, no matter what age they are.
Chiro-Integrative Health Center of Beverly Hills is located at 250 N. Robertson Blvd., Suite 516, Beverly Hills, CA 90211 (310) 859-7696, Ext. 2# or log onto www.tyrabeaversdc.com. We offer a no-obligation, free consultation and examination on the first visit.
3W: LaRue, it was great of you to spend time with us here at Wealth | Wisdom | Wellness today. I bet our readers will reach out to you. After all, if one of the world’s leading geniuses chose you to help feed his people, I think we’d all be blessed to get on board with your program – lose weight, get stronger, healthier and happier. Heck, maybe even gain some IQ points too.