Words by Jan Brand
Photography by The Seventh Lens
Chef Curren Dodds is a master at making healthy food and ingredients delicious and accessible.
Whether it’s huddling around a fire pit next to a chuckwagon, or eating at the iconic Delmonico’s in New York City (which just celebrated it’s hundred-and-eightieth anniversary), it’s all about the food.
More and more, people are beginning to understand that food, as nature made it, is healing and strengthening to the body. Shifts in the way we think about food and the ingredients we use to make our meals have given way to a new movement geared towards real food and ingredients that many believe will not only help us live longer lives, but keep us healthy so we can enjoy the years.
The new “clean food” movement has attracted culinary experts and chefs world-wide, including Chef Curren Dodds, owner of Let’s Eat at Hidden Oaks Golf Club. His name, Curren, is Gaelic for hero, a name which he has grown into as a champion of the healthy eating revolution.
Chef Curren doesn’t remember a time he didn’t love food. His mother was a hospital dietician who used her skills to provide savory meals for her family. At the age of eight he found his mother’s cookbooks and began the journey that would make cooking his life’s calling. He baked brownies. At sixteen he went to work for a national chain Italian restaurant as a scrapper, where he scraped and stacked plates. In time, he was promoted to making pasta and appetizers.
It wasn’t until he went to work for a master baker at the Dutch Regal Bakery at Whole Foods in Dallas that he became captivated and knew he would do this for the rest of his life. Even though pastry is no longer the focus of his food, he values the time he spent learning the discipline of baking. Unlike cooking, where a recipe can be amended, baking is considered a science. If you leave an ingredient out of a pot of beans, you can add it later. If you forget an ingredient in cake, you might not want to eat it.
In 2015 Curren toured Europe for seven weeks and was stunned to see you could get fresh food and fresh pastries at convenience stores. Impressed by the European’s respect for natural food, he came home with a new resolve to make his food better.
When he was asked to cater a dinner for forty he began to see the powerful impact his new appreciation for real food would have on his future. The woman giving the event gave him a list of things necessary for the meal – all organic, natural ingredients. To his surprise, out of twenty-thousand items in stock, the wholesaler had less than a hundred organic, unprocessed foods or that were not genetically modified organisms (GMO). In other words, not real food.
The woman believe the requested food was what had healed her of cancer. The forty dinner guests had similar stories, and claimed that eating real organic food had healed them of deadly diseases. Curren experienced an epiphany about food that changed his life for the second time.
At the time, his mother was experiencing serious health issues, including diabetes and high blood pressure. He moved her to his house and began her days with whole-food juices, which always included green plant food. He made meals packed with nutrients. He used coconut cream and coconut oil to cook with. In seven weeks his mother had lost sixty pounds and her blood pressure was normal. Her eyesight had also improved.
Chef Curren Dodds, owner of Let’s Eat at Hidden Oaks Golf Club
The whole food revolution began in 1976. After curing himself of heart disease through diet and exercise, Nathan Pritikin founded the Pritikin Longevity Center to promote a healthy lifestyle of natural food and exercise to eradicate heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Others soon found many kinds of cancer lost the battle to a high-nutrient diet. Pritikin considered diet the cause and the cure of many well-known diseases. He led the diet and health revolution that has gained momentum in recent years.
In 1980, John Mackey and three friends opened the first Whole Foods Market, originally named Safer Foods, a parody on the Safeway brand. The natural food interest continues to grow today. Whole Foods has 473 stores, with ninety-one-thousand employees, and growing. Super markets are adding organic food sections to their inventory in record numbers as consumers flock toward better choices for themselves and their families.
After the success with his mother’s health, Chef Curren was hooked on healthy food as a way of life. He became committed to making food that was both tasty and healthy. His all-natural corn-beef sandwich is without a doubt one of the best sandwiches I’ve eaten.
An all-natural diet means there are no chemicals, and no added hormones or antibiotics in the food chain. No pesticides, herbicides or insecticides. No additives to give the food a longer shelf life. The food is processed as little as possible to leave the maximum amount of nutrients to restore damaged cells – it’s about food in its natural state.
During his years in Bluffdale, Chef Currren built a name for himself through exceptional food. Celebrities such as country singer Jewel, three-time Professional Cowboy Association Bull Riding Champion Tuff Hedeman, nine-time World Champion rodeo cowboy, Ty Murray, and Ruth Buzzi of Laugh-in and the Dean Martin Roasts-fame, became regular diners. People drove for miles to enjoy the food at Let’s Eat.
When a disaster made it necessary to leave the Bluffdale location, April and Josh Wilks invited Chef Curren to move his restaurant to Hidden Oaks Golf Club.
Now, not only can residents enjoy a sumptuous meal, they can play a round of golf and bring the whole family for a game of horse shoes, corn hole and golden tee. Patrons of the new Let’s Eat can enjoy Chef Curren’s exceptional food complete with family-style seating that allow diners to meet their neighbors and get to know people they wouldn’t ordinarily have the opportunity to get acquainted with.
Let’s Eat isn’t just delivering delicious and authentic food, even though it’s worth a visit just for that, it is now in a location that can make for a great family outing. Some of the best memories are made around family and food.