We had the good fortune of connecting with Amber Caudle and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Amber, how do you think about risk?
I love this topic! I have always taken big risks in my personal life and businesses. Taking big risk, allows me to push myself outside of my limitations and comfort zone. This always leads to growth and so many lessons. I think sometimes people are nervous to take risks because taking big risks can lead to failure. And fear of failure gets in the way of taking risks. I believe that my greatest lessons have come from me falling on my face and having to get back up again and push forward and try again! These failures have been profound on the success of all of my businesses. I do not believe I would be where I am today with my three restaurants, if I wasn’t willing to take risks and put myself out there and push thru the fear! The best rewards and greatest lessons come from falling down and having the courage and faith to get back up and try the next thing! I never play it safe in my personal or business life. Playing it safe leads to feeling complacent. And that is not an option for me. I am always pushing myself to be the best CEO, the best leader and the best version of myself I can be. I used to hide behind fear, the fear of failing. Of not being perfect. But this lead to me being very stagnant and unhappy. When I stopped being scared of the fear of failing and the painful lessons that came from that, my life opened up in so many beautiful ways. I love pushing myself to the edge! And I am so grateful for the light and insight that always comes from failing. Taking risks makes me feel empowered, brave and confident!

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The restaurant business is the only business I have ever been in! I started working in restaurants at 14 years old and never stopped. I have always had a passion for food and have always loved how food brings people together and how a meal can leave a memorable experience. I always knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a chef. I was always very excited about food from a very young age and new my path to being a chef was inevitable. After graduating from Auburn University with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, I knew that being creative in the kitchen was my passion. I began my culinary training in Fort Collins, Colorado, and fell in love with the simplicity and passion of Southern Italian cuisine. This was not an easy journey. I was trained in a kitchen where I was the only woman. I pushed myself hard every day to prove that I had what it took to be a successful woman chef. I was determined and did not give up, even thou I thought about it daily! This is where I had to really let go of that inner voice and fears that I was not good enough. So many lessons here on staying true to my vision and self, to push thru fear and to not let others influence me in a negative way. I also learned some hard lessons in over doing, over working and pushing myself into complete exhaustion. My determination paid off, and I had the opportunity to move to Hermosa Beach, California to be the executive chef at a new restaurant, Mediterraneo. For ten years I was the Executive Chef of a very large, male dominated kitchen with no shortage of business and life lessons. It wasn’t until my last year at Mediterraneo that I discovered the deep healing powers of food. I hit a rock bottom with my health and had a wake up call and a spiritual awakening. I realized I had thrown myself into my passion; literally and figuratively. I reached my breaking point. After 15+ years as a chef, working long hours on my feet, without understanding the dangerous consequences of a constant state of high stress, limited sleep, and high expectations, my lack of proper self care turned out to be toxic for my mind and body. With this realization, I spent time at a detoxifying spiritual retreat center where I gained life changing perspective. I began to understand how food, the thing I love to create, could be my medicine. This is when I knew I wanted a restaurant where I could help people with food. I was Determined to learn everything I could about the healing properties of food and turn my life around immediately, I armed myself with education and have continuously worked to create a life full of balance, healing, and nurturing. This is when I opened my first restaurant, The Source Cafe in Hermosa Beach 8 years ago. I know have a 2nd restaurant that I opened in July 2020 during Covid. This was definitely not easy! But with faith, perseverance and a powerful team by my side, we opened! What sets me apart: I really am passionate about making a paradigm shift in peoples lives and in the world thru food. I believe that what we put in our bodies matters now! I put so much intention into every dish and I am very serious about the quality of the ingredients that I use in my restaurants. I use non GMO, organic and sustainable food. I also love showing that healthy food can be sexy beautiful and delicious! I am proud of what I have created and am proud to see the difference my food has made in people’s lives. It really does keep me going and bring me so much joy to see these changes and to open up people’s eyes to a new way of eating. I am also proud to announce I have two books coming out this summer! My long awaited cookbook, Sexy Nourishing Food to Heal your body and mind. My other book is my story and journey with food called, My dynamic emotional relationship with Food! I am so very excited to share both of these with the world! What keeps me going: to stay committed to my passion and to bring my knowledge to others, with the intention of helping them change their lives as well, one bite at a time.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would bike ride to Marina Del Rey and go to the beach. That beach is the most beautiful! I would go to Gjusta and grab some food and then Moon Juice for some treats. For Lunch and dinners I would go to both Source Cafes a lot, Fishing with Dynamite and Love and Salt I would spoil them with massage and a facial from at my friends day spa, Carole Maggio’s Day Spa. We definitely would take walks on the strand in Redondo by my house with my dog Sadie! I would go hiking in PV and in Malibu. And if Covid wasn’t here, I would go to Unplug Meditation for amazing breath work and mediation classes. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give gratitude to my 2 amazing business partners, Cindy Van Pelt and Beth Hanneman. These ladies are always by my side giving me unconditional love, support and encouragement as we take risks and grow our businesses. It really is amazing to have a team of strong women!

Website: chefamber.com; thesourcecafe.com

Instagram: chefamberla; the.source.cafe

Facebook: chefamberla; thesourcecafehb

Youtube: chefamberla

Image Credits
Hailee Repko and Jake Repko, CNW

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