Hollan Hamid, Vegan Chef + Author of Good Food Gratitude
Caught up with Hollan over brunch at her old cafe on the Eastside. Unlike any other interview I have ever done, this one followed no framework and one story led to the next. It made me realize something about this woman - she tunes into intention and then unleashes the energy to see where it takes her. Her entrepreneurial journey has been the same with one thing leading to the next, very different thing yet rooted in the same intention.
You have flowed through different roles over the years, but all tied to the foods we eat and the health of our bodies. Can you summarize these? There are so many hats we wear and so many reasons we care about what we do. Food has been the centerpiece of my life. Once my health was on the line I learned the connection between food and health. The different ways I use food in my life are, As a . . . . .
Mother - realizing I wanted to nurture my own kids Student - deciding to learn more and my degree in nutrition Chef - making baked goods to wholesale at different locations Cafe Owner - purchasing Cafe Cocos (with my winnings from Wheel of Fortune - true story) with the vision to shift it to a Vegan Restaurant Author - publishing a cookbook with all my recipes included
What is your philosophy when it comes to healthy living? My focus is to make healthy eating as practical and as accessible as possible. It doesn't have to be a whole overhaul, it can simply be a few switches here and there to replace your everyday go-tos to something that is healthier and more nutritious. I love helping others integrate healthier options into their daily lives. There’s no one eating style that is right for everyone. It’s about finding what is right for you, and something you can sustain over time.
Have you always been entrepreneurial?
I’ve always believed in making space for my dreams. My own journey has been fun because its like an onion where I am constantly peeling back the layers, learning new things and solving new problems. Everything is new. I don't have it all figured out, but I choose to show up for what calls to me and follow that path to see where it leads.
Was it difficult to let go of the restaurant, something you had taken time and devotion to build?
I have always tried to hold things loosely, understanding that there is a time and place for each thing. I know that there is no space for the next thing if I hang on too tight to the current thing. It was funny when I sold the place - it happened so quickly and somewhat serendipitously. I was in New York and randomly met the manager of a vegan cafe. We got to talking and when they found out about my cafe in Kauai they shared that it had always been a dream of theirs to have a Vegan Cafe in Kaua'i. I laughed and said well maybe I will sell it to you! And then 6 months later they were in Kaua'i and they were buying the Cafe. It just fell together and I knew it was the right thing at the right time.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Staying away from the dream killers, and all the people that tell you what to do. Dreams can be fragile and so I have learned over the years to be protective and careful with whom I share them with. I have also had to really turn down the outer noise telling me who I am and what I should do, in order to tune into what I desire most. This has been good because it requires me to take time to identify and clarify what that is and then how to follow it.
What was the spark that started the idea for this book?
I had this thought while I was working at the cafe to do 100 days, 100 recipes. It became a passion, almost obsession, as I prepped recipes, recorded them, photographed them and shared them. I was working away on this project when I realized - Aha! This would be perfect to publish in a cookbook someday. When I made the goal to publish this in a book, I became more serious too about it - knowing that it was part of a bigger project.
What have you learned through the process of writing this book? Don’t rush it. All along the way there has been pressure to finish it, publish it or get it out the door. But for me, its more important to have it exactly right before I send it out. This has meant being especially patient, even starting over in some areas to make sure that it is something that truly reflects who I am and is the book that I want to share with others. Sometimes I would have to take breaks, and then come back to it. I learned to accept that my rhythm and process was right for the pursuit of this. And the result has been PHENOMENAL!! I love every piece of this book and there is so much beauty within every page. What has been your secret to success over the years? Not giving up on myself. Believing in me when no one else would. Also Mentors! Lots of good mentors. Asking the right people for advice and input. And always working towards a dream that inspires me. For me, that dream is to have the freedom to work and immerse myself in projects that are meaningful to me. What’s next for you? Sky’s the limit. I have a huge vision for my Life but one step at a time. The next stop! My Book Tour! I head out this month to begin launching my book and I can’t wait. I’m also looking forward to hosting an event in August specially for LEI - stay tuned!
Hollan so excited for the launch of your book and learning more about the journey that has led you here. Find out more about her newly launched book "Good Food Gratitude" HERE!