My Early Life
Born into the world in 1975 & named Ben Richards. My mother was 14 years old and was addicted to drugs. As a result, I too had addictions to over come as a newborn, and coming through a brave little girls body via a C-section, naturally immunity issues developed and became my driver for getting leverage over my health in the future.
This is a ‘light and censored’ version of my biography of how I became interested in living foods as a system that consequently when prepared correctly, connects us to nature via a circuitry if you like. ‘The biphoton field” – quantum and bio-physicist proff. Fritz-Albert Popp called it. The universe communicates through it and we each other. As a result of a radical childhood, I have learnt first hand what it means to living beings when this subtle yet powerful connection is tampered with and how to get it back. I feel alive when I can share it with you, especially through food & fasting.
It was when I was 9 years old that my mother died of a combination of an overdose of drugs – heroin, and a doctors’ advice of using the prescriptions she was taking at the time.
Her family, like many others, was a product of a broken society.
Emotionally torn. Her mother, my grand mother, lived through the great depression and knew what it meant to be able to sit the family down to a well cooked and lovingly prepared meal at the end of the day. As a result my grandmother became a professional chef. She was a strong woman that could do anything she set her mind to. It was she that became my guardian after my mother passed. It was a stark contrast from the life I had grown up in beforehand and ultimately why I am still here in the free world, and not somewhere less ideal. She was the reason for my interest in preparing foods. Damn she could make a good meal and it always looked well presented. So much love in that food. A feel I am always trying to bring through in my preparations.
As I entered high school I took up long distance running and triathlons and developed a personal relationship with how my body responds to different foods/stimuli. I wasn’t vegetarian or vegan, no one in my family was or had even entertained the idea. When I turned 14 years of age, I took a part time job in a kitchen roasting chickens, vegetables and hot chips. I loved it, serving food to people and earning a living that way. It was when my grandmother was taken to hospital for acute angina attacks 2 years later that I just checked myself out of school and went full-time at the kitchen. When my grandmother came home from hospital, I told her I quit school. She nearly had another heart attack & kicked me out of home (looking back its pretty comical. Its like I am constantly being forced to go deeper in everything I do). I only wanted to provide for my family but I could understand her anger. She said I was out of control. 3 years later she passed away as well.
My Career Journey
It was 3 years later again after working in Biker bars, café’s & the like, living on the Gold Coast in Australia that I met a beautiful young woman who was working in fancy hotels in fine dining restaurants. Here I was with long hair, unshaven working in little kitchens and plastering houses that took a look at her life & thought, wow. She’s working in really nice places, getting good money & still having fun. I replied to a fancy hospitality course add in the paper some months later and was taken in to do the course free of charge. What an opportunity!
So I totally blitzed this course coming in at the top of the class in all areas from certificate 3 in basic cookery, front of house, bar skills, croupier and so much more. The teacher said if I get my hair cut she would find me placement in 5 star hotels on the Gold Coast. So I did, & she did. Changed my life right there.
So after a couple of years working in places like the Marriott, The Sheraton, Gold Coast International, The Park Royal, & in all capacities from barista, to bartender, to cellar, their fine dining restaurants, the Cellar of the huge casino on the Gold Coast. I had the most epic resume that I could literally send my resume or walk into any where and get good work. I had 4 jobs at the same time sometimes working up to 110 hours per week. I was frothing on hospitality and the food and wine service game and just loved the energy of the small but high vibe Italian restaurants as well. The Italians know hospitality and I got that. 3 or 4 generations in one restaurant and all their respective friends, made the highest vibes and it just works. I wanted to know it all.
It was when I was working at a fine dining restaurant called Margeaux on the mezzanine level of the GCI, where the chefs would take their big bowls and scissors out to the herb garden in front of the guests and pick the herbs fresh for each order, that a dream like wave passed over my eyes in the middle of my wine service.
I saw a restaurant in the middle of a field where all the produces were grown and the chefs going to pick fresh everything to be made for that order. It was then I first had the vision for what is now called The Seeds of Life – only I had no idea at the time...
I was only 19, partying, chasing girls and surfing with my mates. It stayed with me that vision – returning from time to time.
After the Gold Coast chapter and the separation with that woman who changed my life by just living the life she wanted to, that I sent my resumes off to the beautiful islands of The Great Barrier Reef. And there I worked dream jobs for the next couple of years as cocktail barman in the beautiful hotels and resorts there. Making my way to manager of restaurants and bars was easy for me as I had so much enthusiasm and passion for the product knowledge and human dynamics. I would teach wine and cheese sunset demo’s on the beach, cocktail classes for the guests, champagne cheese and sunset boat cruises sailing around the islands. And we would do huge catering and special events.
Even paradise gets boring, so after a while I wanted to get back into the kitchen. I was about 23 when I made my way up to Port Douglas in Far North Queensland. Australia’s most premier hospitality town. I took work in the Sheraton Hotels’ Daintree lounge bar serving liquors and high end cognacs that cost up to au$135 per shot, was certified in high end cigar knowledge and silver service by the Sheraton that at the time was the number 2 hotel in the world. I do love contrast, so at the same time, after my shift that finished at midnight, I would go to this little restaurant, that was the dodgiest but high vibe café you can imagine as a prep chef. It was a week or so later the owners came to me and said “so you’re a hot shot barman huh?” haha I just laughed as, well, for sure – I was working in the 2nd finest hotel lobby bar in the world serving people like Mick Jagger, The Sultan of Brunei and so on. It was mental what I was doing, thinking back now about it.
Any ways, they said, “do you want to work in our bar?” I mean, I was like “and quit my job?” they said “no, work there and come here after, it doesn’t get busy until the other restaurants close & all the staffs from there come here anyways around 12:30 to party”. “Damn I said for sure – put me in coach”. And then I had the 2 best dream jobs. This later led me to working in one of Australia’s premier outdoor fine dining restaurants Called Nautilus as a wine waiter. We served Bill Clinton & people like that. Totally crazy what was going on in that town. That was before Jet Star and Air Asia started to fly people on a budget for really cheap up there. We had our own little private, excusive paradise for many years – and the money was incredible. I worked in many positions over the years, as a chef, bartender, restaurant manager, barista, cocktail mixologist extraordinaire and doing extravagant out door special events as well. Game changer.
The Turning Point
Even paradise gets boring.. Welcome to the human condition.
My life as a kid had embedded some deep core wounds that I had spent the most of my life at that point diving deeply into on the side of my hospitality career. And a chef’s job is not the most cohesive environment for healing haha.
I just wanted to be free from the suffering. Hospitality was a vehicle for me to earn money, learn about the world & travel. On the side I would travel from the North of Australia in winter season, to the southern parts for the summers working on farms in between. It was an endless summer of finding people to learn different healing modalities & bodywork from, all the while working in idyllic locations like the wilderness of Tasmania in eco lodges, the deserts of Australia. I set my 1975 4wd Land Rover Series 3 up with solar panels, 3 batteries, and kitchen in my trailer, and I would go and do vision quests in the desert for 40 – 60 days asking questions in deep contemplative states to find answers about life no-one had been able to help me with. I traveled ALL of that mighty land called Australia over 20+ years working in some of the best restaurants in Australia and the world. I even worked in a fine dining restaurant in the desert that was booked 2 weeks in advance & was the Sommelier selling wines up to au$4400 per bottle! I mean, what a ride. Some of the owners of these places inspired me incredibly and I cannot thank them enough. One chef, Stefano de Pieri wasn’t even a qualified chef and had his own T.V channel and one of the best restaurant in the world. Mind blown I thought damn, all you need is passion in life and motivation.
The more I learnt about production of our foods, the more I realized how messed up things were. I took work on a chicken-processing farm for 6 weeks to really see exactly what is going on. What did I learn? We are really disconnected to what is actually happening. And when we see cuts of meat all cleaned and bleached at the supermarkets or delivered to our establishments, what we are missing and not connecting to is all the suffering that comes with it. And I don’t just mean the animals, for sure that’s obvious. But the people who work in these places have severe mental illness. They are people who do not fit into society, cannot hold a conversation with “normal” folk. Cannot turn up to work all dressed sharp and keep it together. Nope, these people require our help. What I’ve learnt is that my demand of that unnecessary product keeps those people from healing as well as the torment of the animals. How could I continue like this?
It was when I was in Tasmania that I took on an interest in Living foods. I was watching David Wolfe one night as I was searching for another healing modality to study..
I thought, what about nutrition? That’s something I haven’t studied yet.
I became vegetarian in my mid 20’s (that’s a whole other story, we will save that for later) & hadn’t pondered the thought of full on altruism veganism really. This made sense what David was saying, quoting people like Rudolf Steiner who said “living foods, living bodies”. I had worked on permaculture farms and knew a bit about Steiner and his work on Bio-Dynamics. I had worked on many farms and in many wineries, as I wanted to know all about the production & process of the food and wine industry. Food connects us to the shifting movements of our solar system. Everything is energy and everything is connected. The moon moves the oceans right? Why wouldn’t Neptune have an effect also?
After a late night YouTube session with David Wolfe I took up raw foods. I was eating breakfast & lunch raw & cooked dinner – but still not vegan. I had no idea about 100% raw or even what was happening in the USA with the Raw Foods movement, as Australia was way behind on the mark at that time. All I had was YouTubers giving me the word up from down under.
I was working in a restaurant that was voted number 5 in the world at that time and we served incredible world-class wines and cheese. Ha-ha, wine and cheese were the last for me to say good-bye to. When that time came I decided to find a restaurant in Australia that served raw foods and the only place that was doing as such, was on the west coast called Samudra. They served vegan and raw foods and held yoga classes. Perfect! So I sent them my resume and took a job as a manager there. I was frothing. Bouncing to a short seasonal job as a Shift manager of a 5 start hotel in the far northern desert, I quit my job and drove to my new life. Just like that.
I learnt so much. Sucked up everything about super-foods, became 100% raw vegan (more on that story another time), we had a biodynamic farm growing 76kg pumpkins and really it was almost everything I had envisioned many years ago at Margeaux, except we weren’t serving all the meals from the farm. I got to see how much energy and production that would require to do that. AND, we were inviting David Wolfe to come and do retreats with us. Amazing, here was this guy who inspired me to get on the path and now I am holding retreats for him. I knew I was on the right path. By this time I had started doing bi-weekly raw food master classes and had people driving literally 300 kilometers to come and learn. It was a monthly master class where you could come and learn about cheeses and fermentation, super-foods and chocolate, desserts, smoothie’s mains, entrée and desserts and how to do a raw food dinner party. I was getting up to 25-30 people to the workshops. This was obviously what I am meant to be doing right?
Building My Dreams in Bali
So I took it to Bali. I met a wonderful woman who was also a raw food chef and we did yoga and raw food retreats, raw food workshops, pop up cafes and trainings and were invited to many countries for the next 3 years. It was when we talked about having a family that I said I wanted to have a restaurant to support our family. She wasn’t into it but wanted to support me in the dream. The weeks leading up to opening The Seeds of Life raw Food Café & Tonic Bar in Ubud Bali, that the pressure had gotten to her I think, that having a restaurant was going to be too stressful for her, so she decided to go her own way. Restaurants have been my whole life and I knew that it was going to be successful and easy to run so I stuck with it and saw the vision through. With the Raw Food Chef certification program running successfully and constantly full, the café was an instant success and as part of the vision has edged the Ubud Raw & Vegan scene into the world class destination for Yoga & Living foods & of course veganism. Our ashtanga yoga shala is highly successful and people come from all over the world to get the message of how to integrate this lifestyle.
Now she has her own cooked vegan and some raw food restaurant and does her own raw food trainings. And consequently Ubud village has scored 2 of the best vegan establishments around.
The Seeds of Life is the only dedicated Raw Vegan restaurant in Indonesia and probably the world that has a full ala carte service and the most epic Toaist tonic bar where I make many cocktails, elixirs & tonic teas from fermented mushrooms, kombuchas, extract tonic herb powders from the Indonesian, Chinese and Ayurvedic herbal systems. All served with no alcohol and support many functions of the human frame based on what I have studied and experienced personally and thorough sharing with 1000’s of others. I incorporate these herbs in recipes of sauces, dressings and dishes from the menu as well.
This way of life is all about digestive fire. It’s all about how we assimilate our environment. Our passion and desire to engulf and expand through the many possibilities that life has mirrored for us. For many it’s hard to get right, humans are extremely deficient in many things especially digestive fire. We too often try to apply the art without the science. The act of eating with out innerstanding what digestion really means. Not just on a physical, but a metaphysical level. We are more what we think, than what we eat. What we don’t eliminate accumulates. Our thoughts create our realities. You think about making the cake, and then you make it. This is the Dreamtime. I am not out here, you perceive me – inside your mind, and in your head is where you see me. You feel the world, inside your body actually. Is there really an out there – out there?
Every species has a ‘species-specific’ set of values to its existence. There’s a purpose to their existence in that all creatures play an important role to their environment – specifically. Take one away and the order is changed. I am of the opinion now that eating is more than just a function to fill our bellies. Look at how the blue whale, the biggest creature on the earth eats only plankton and krill – the smallest creatures. Where do they get their ‘balanced meal’ from? Look at the big cats of the prairies. They only eat freshly killed meat no veggies or fruits or a good balance of them. They sit there and eye off the weakest zebra or elks and then take their role to ensure the strongest of that species survives. This is species-specific integration with its environment.
What is ours as humans do you think? I believe that we are the divine farmers. We eat the fruits and spread the seeds of life. Take the fruit, you don’t need to garnish or add salt or pepper. They’re simply perfect. Our species see’s the 7 colors of the rainbow and fruits with their bright biophoton colors beaming to us against the green leafy backdrop and blue skies, command our attention and call us into action. Not many animals can see what we see in that way. So we spread and continue the culture of life…
I’d like to thank all the women of the world who bring life into being. Our mother earth, the bringer of all life on this earth – for without you we are not possible.
“But he alone gains enlightenment who knows its doors, for what were he to do with a house who cannot find his way inside”. ~ pythagorus.