“The Kitchen” in Ashland offers more than just good food for the community

the kitchen 9By Tammy Andrews

These days, it is rare to find business owners who are more interested in helping people with their product rather than just selling the product itself. But this is exactly what Jason and Cynthia at The Kitchen are all about…making a difference…

Last month, they opened a quaint little café on the Ashland Square (formerly High Points) that specializes in making tasty meals, smoothies, and juices with organic fruits and vegetables and people are quickly taking notice! Since opening, The Kitchen has seen a steady increase in business as more and more news circulates that healthy eating is not always about having to deprive your taste buds of a delicious meal.

They couldn’t be happier with how well their business is going and will tell you that their café is only the foundation of what they wish to accomplish here in this county. As community oriented people, both Jason and Cynthia are passionate about teaching their knowledge of adapting a healthy lifestyle to the citizens of this county. In fact, Jason is volunteering with the Ashland Housing Development

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Stuffed Mushrooms with Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Corporation (AHDC) to develop Clay County’s first community garden. The Ashland Community Garden will offer an opportunity for anyone interested, especially those in need. “It’s about getting back to the basics”, says Jason smiling. (More about the Community Garden in the next article)

Cynthia, who you will find behind the counter usually always busy with food preparations will tell you that this is a lifelong passion she has dedicated herself to. Cynthia, who grew up in Michigan, found herself dealing with a health problems of her own coming up. But her life would change after a move to the California Red Woods and met a woman who cured herself of cancer by eating and juicing only fresh, raw vegetables. This would have a tremendous impact on Cynthia and unknowingly, it lead her to her life’s path.

Once Cynthia adapted this lifestyle and over time, she found herself more energetic and eventually cured of all of her ailments. Her only problem was she got bored with her meals because there was only so many ways to make a salad. Until one day, when she was given an vegan brownie and found it to be delicious. She grabbed the wrapper and saw it was made from an organic farm in Miami, FL and immediately said “That’s where I’m going”, and she did just that. In 2001 Cynthia moved to Miami and would go to Glaser Farms every day and beg them until they relented and gave her a job. It was here that Cynthia began to learn the proper collaboration of herbs, vegetables and fruit to make tasty meals.

And she was good at it too…

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Macho Nachos, a best seller

She opened up a restaurant called  Om Garden in Miami’s Brickell District, which was very successful. After a few years, her client list began to show it too, working with a very-high end clientele as a chef/nutritionist. Cynthia has been the personal chef to many wealthy people, including Bob Marley’s mother, Mama B and she continues to private chef in Miami for his brother and his family.  And that’s how she met Jason.  In 2010, Cynthia was working with a client in Lakeland, FL when she met Jason at the local farmers market. It was immediately clear that they both held the same passions and the rest was history.

Jason, who had grown a “military brat” as he professes, was ready to put permanent roots down and somewhere to call home, something he had never had. So he began researching little towns with a strong community ethic and when he ran across Ashland, AL, his decision was made. Cynthia and Jason moved her a year ago and they love living in Clay County. “You don’t find people like this anywhere else”, he says with a smile, “just good people.”

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Pizza night!

With their strong community sense, their ultimate goal is just to help the people become more healthy  and they are taking every step towards that goal. In addition to the community garden, they feed needy elderly people, in a “Meals on Wheels” type of program. Their Thursday nights are committed to bringing the community together and show-casing local musical talent with Jason’s Pizza n’ Music night plus they serve fresh baked pies and vegan desserts in Thee Dessert Room on Friday nights.  Cynthia hopes to begin offering a Food Prep Classes once a month so that people can learn how to easily prepare healthy meals in their own homes.

Next week, The Kitchen will extend their business hours and offer lunch deliveries as far as Lineville. They also hope to open a small all-natural grocery store in the future as well.

God said, “I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the land and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food”Genesis 1:29. This is a Bible scripture you will read on every menu at The Kitchen, which kitchen 6concludes everything the Knights are trying to teach to the public about your food intake, which, in turn, is linked to your health. “Even if you feel your health has declined so badly that you can’t change it, just know that it is never too late to make this change” says Cynthia, “the right foods are the cure to everything. Food is medicine. Not only do we want to feed people, we also hope to show them the truth.”

At the age of 38, Cynthia’s acquired knowledge of the healing quality of herbs, fruits and vegetables,  attained over the last two decades could easily earn her a permanent spot as a personal chef in Hollywood, but that’s not a route she or Jason wish to follow. They are perfectly happy right here where they are, living the small town life and showing people that food can hopefully be the cure for all that ails ‘em, to give a better quality of life  to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.

The Kitchen will hold their Ribbon Cutting ceremony this Thursday night at 6:00pm.  After the opening, pizzas will go in the oven, the music will start up and the fun will begin when you show up.

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