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Kye's on Montana is a bright and sunny restaurant located in Santa Monica,
California. What sets this dining spot apart from the rest? Their specialty is serving healthy and wholesome KyeRitos—a handheld meal wrapped in lettuce greens or
traditional nori (Japanese for seaweed)—created by momtrepreneur Jeanne Cheng. A firm believer that the
root of health and happiness lies in food, she began developing the concept of
KyeRitos as a way to teach her son Kye about "nurturing a healthy relationship
with food and the joy and pleasures food brings to life."
Cheng hopes to
eventually spread the concept of Kye's into a global avenue for pure and
wholesome food well beyond just Santa Monica.
All wraps are gluten-free with locally sourced ingredients and as many superfoods as possible,
Can you tell us more about your inspiration behind Kye's and your passion for food?
I love to cook and I've
always believed in the importance of nutrition and food as medicine, but that
it also has to satisfy the heart. Feeding my son was the inspiration
behind Kye's. He forced me to focus my attention on providing him
with all the nutrition a growing body needs. He was a picky eater with several
food sensitivities, so I had to be creative and tweak recipes, trying to add
nutrition and remove processed ingredients. I've always eaten clean and
organic. I am very sensitive to food myself and I'm passionate about changing
the way we grow our food in this country.
What was the turning point for you when you
realized you wanted to open a restaurant?
I had been thinking about it and tried to
convince various friends of mine in the restaurant business to do it with me. On October 20, 2012, I was at a Mother Divine retreat in N.C. and during the
intense rounds of meditation, it hit me that I had to do it by myself and made a
pledge to go for it. I came home and got hooked up with the Cornell School of Restaurant and Hotel Management Library and started educating myself. There has all been a lot of learning!
Can you briefly describe the process from your idea of Kye's
In my mind, Kye's was everywhere and everyone
was eating KyeRitos, not just in the U.S., but globally. I could feel it in
every cell in my body, so felt like I had to do it. It was a tremendous
amount of work and commitment. Luckily, I didn't know it would be so
difficult to actualize, otherwise I may not have done it. I now feel
like I have a master's degree in opening and managing a restaurant.
How involved is your son with the restaurant?
He loves to help out and come up with ideas and
is very proud of it. He thinks it's the coolest thing to be able to eat
whatever he wants, though he's a little sick of KyeRitos at this point.
What are some tips to help others achieve KyeChi—the
practice of nourishing one's bodies and experiencing pure enjoyment at the same
Cook with your kids. I let Kye choose a food to make, whatever he wants, then we Google a
recipe for it and brainstorm different ways to make it "healthier" without
sacrificing flavor. Then we go to the store and shop the ingredients and cook it together.