She isn't happy when I say this, but I blame it on my wife, Sandy.
I'm a 59-year-old Family Physician who, for many reasons, has decided it is time, with the help of his perfect partners in crime, to create a restaurant that is healthy, flavorful, hearty, and affordable. Can it be done?
One evening in 2014 (yes, WHOLi KaBOWLi! is 10 years in the making!) I came home from a long day at the office, and as soon as I opened the door, my mouth started watering, as I was hit with tastebud-tantalizing aromas. I walked into the kitchen and saw all my kitchen counters cluttered with dishes and various foodstuffs, being prepared by my sweet wife and children. I quickly determined they were preparing build-your-own rice bowls, with some 20-25 potential toppings ranging from mandarin oranges, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and olives to slivered almonds, jícama, shredded coconut, and artichoke hearts (Sandy had made sure to include both white and brown rice, to appeal to all). There followed one of the most amazing (and amazingly healthy) culinary experiences of my life. Why would anyone fault me for wanting to share that experience with the world? And thus the seed was planted that eventually grew into WHOLi KaBOWLi!.
What's in a Name?
Backing up to 2010, I attended a Primary Care medical conference, during which the keynote speaker (a renowned physician) made the following statement about helping patients develop a healthier lifestyle: "I'm not a big fan of counseling...(at which point I began to question his wisdom)...we simply need to make it easier." That has stuck with me ever since. He is so right - it is simply HARD to be healthy, especially the eating part!
Now I return to the restaurant, which I had decided, after my amazing home rice bowl experience, to call "The Rice Basin" (basin was the only synonym I could find for bowl, for which both the domain name and trademark were available). However, I quickly realized that salads could be made using most of the same ingredients, and slowly over time I thought of many other things I wanted on the menu. The name evolved to "The Whole Basin" ("whole" meaning both non-processed and a large variety), but then my youngest brother Jonathan, also an entrepreneur, told me that name was way too boring. He suggested "Wholey" something (that had a ring to it), like "Wholey Guacamole." I was deflated - until I remembered the name of that doctor who spoke at that 2010 conference: Dr. Peter Kaboli! I was concerned about using someone's last name, but my daughter Kylie observed that if I simply added a "W," there was my BOWL! Fortunately, after a few initial failed attempts, I was successful at securing a registered trademark for WHOLi KaBOWLi!.
What's the Concept?
In a nutshell, the whole basic menu will be made of whole plants and fatty seafood, but customers will have the option of adding their favorite (healthily-prepared) seasoned protein (steak, chicken, shrimp, salmon, firm tofu). Not a single gram of sugar, artificial sweeteners, white flour, oil, dairy, or eggs will be found anywhere on the menu. The variety of flavorful meals will cast a wide net around various eating preferences, including WPB (whole plant-based), Mediterranean, vegan/vegetarian, and keto. As needed, menu items will be seasoned and sweetened with plants such as spices, Medjool dates, and ripe bananas, and cashews and pureed vegetables will be used to make necessary items creamier. You will not believe it, until you taste it, that one of our signature items is a chile con queso dip ("Nacho Queso"), using purely whole plants!
My grand design is to make WHOLi KaBOWLi! a place where everything on the menu accomplishes the WHOLi Grail trifecta of healthy, craveable, and filling - AND doesn't break the bank. I have had enough such meals in my journey to know it is a possible dream. With the help of a great deal of research, in addition to Shawn McNaughton (my experienced restaurant guy and now close friend), Matt Becker (seasoned executive chef), Marie Barber (my nutrition coach and great cook), and my wife (unwittingly), we have made it a reality.
In the words of one executive chef, after learning and pondering the details of the WHOLi KaBOWLi! concept, "This is totally doable...(pause)...Wow - this is going to change everything!" And that's the goal!
Eventually I hope to have a WHOLi KaBOWLi! restaurant within reasonable reach of the majority of the U.S. population. Matt, our executive chef, also just happens to be a consultant for getting restaurant and other foods into stores, which has always been my long-term goal with WHOLi KaBOWLi! products. For example, we fully plan on developing a line of WHOLi KaBOWLi!-worthy tortilla chips (including a signature jalapeno-pear-lime flavor), frozen meals, and "SpudToppers." WHOLi KaBOWLi! will not only be a brand, but a new, healthy eating style. When you ask people if they have any specific dietary preferences, along with the typical "vegetarian," "paleo," or "gluten-free" responses (and with increasing frequency), you'll hear "WHOLi KaBOWLi!".