We had the good fortune of connecting with Tami Chu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tami, let’s talk legacy – what do you want yours to be?
When I think about legacy, I always think about my four kids and what I want them to remember about me. Do I want to be remembered by the world? Sure, but it matters more that these four remarkable humans are inspired by my life to somehow continue some of my heart’s mission. From the time they were babies, my biggest lesson for them was kindness. We lose nothing by being kind, but gain so much. I strive—in my work, in my home, in my parenting—to keep kindness at the forefront, especially in hard situations. What we do and say is gone in a minute, but the feelings of those words and actions remain.
What should our readers know about your business?
I tell people to never make long term career plans; just shoot for five years at a time. I come to this advice quite honestly. I started off my career as a first grade teacher, going to school nights and during the summer to finish up my credential and advanced degree in Special Education. From there, I taught middle school, co-creating a program for Deaf & Hard of Hearing students who wanted to stay in the district.
I long debated continuing to teach while raising my kids, but ultimately decided to homeschool them full time instead. I am a bit of an overachiever though, so I started a food co-op and orchestrated some natural food educational events during that season of my life. When my youngest was born with multiple allergies, many food related, I was spurred into a new direction of study and eventually obtained a master of science degree in nutrition.
The beauty of a varied and diverse professional background is the opportunities offered in the present. While creating nutrition focused courses, both online and in person, I was asked to write for a local publication, Edible Ojai & Ventura County. The editor, Sarene Wallace, and I just clicked and I loved being a part of it. So when Sarene and her husband Ron decided it was time to sell the publication, it just made sense that I step into the publishing world.
Now, just 3.5 years later, having survived the economic challenges of COVID lockdowns, I am excited to say that I am starting another Edible magazine in the San Fernando Valley which, with the help of amazing contributors and incredible sales consultants, I hope to be distributing by the end of 2022. I am also working with a local school district in Ventura County (Ocean View School District in Oxnard) to develop an Edible Education program that highlights and celebrates local farmers and chefs, and teaches students about local food and the environmental impact of food and farming practices.
Nothing that we do ever goes to waste.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
(Ironically, this scenario actually happened and my friend wrote a story about it that we published in our Fall 2019 issue. https://edibleventuracounty.ediblecommunities.com/shop/eating-our-way-through-ventura-county)
I have the absolute pleasure of publishing a food magazine that focuses on the best things to do see and consider in Ventura County. Everyone always asks me of the best place to eat in Ojai. While I do have favorites, the reality is, there are SO many amazing options. Here is my idea of a perfect (food-filled) week of vacation in VC:
Start with where to stay, if an Airbnb is not your style, try the Crowne Plaza or the Pierpont Inn near the beach in Ventura with restaurants attached. For something more eclectic, try the Waypoint Ventura and stay in a renovated vintage trailer. In Ojai, grab a room at any of the adorable hotels on or off Ojai Ave. And for points further west, the Four Season Hotel, Westlake (with their spectacular restaurant Coin & Candor), or the Westlake Village Inn are both dreamy.
For morning coffee in Ventura, start every day a little differently and try locally sourced Harvest Café, Simone’s, Lovewell Tea & Coffee, Palermo’s or Palm & Boy on Main St. In Oxnard or Newbury Park, I highly recommend Ragamuffin Coffee Roasters for coffee, tea and gluten-free treats. In Ojai, for coffee and pastries, it is worth checking out Beacon Coffee and newly opened, The Dutchess (make reservation there for dinner in advance if you hope to get a table later). Edible OVC actually did a coffee map of Ventura County, available on our website for a more detailed listing.
To hang out, there is always the beach (42 miles of beaches in VC!), and for an adventure, options include a trip to the islands for hiking, (whale watching on the way!), a bike ride up the bike trail from Ventura to Ojai (start early to avoid the heat!), or hikes in any of the surrounding national forest areas.
In between meals mentioned above and more at places like Tierra Sur in Oxnard, Paradise Pantry in Ventura, The Cave and Rumfish Y Vino in Ventura, Ojai Rotîe, the Nest and Boccali’s in Ojai, take some time to do wine, beer and spirits tastings at places like NABU Wines and Naughty Pines Brewery in Westlake Village, Ventura Spirits, The Ojai Winery, Old Creek Winery, Rincon Brewery, The Ojai Valley Brewery, Tipple and Ramble, etc.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There have been so many spectacular influences in my life; I wish I could give a shoutout to every single one! To start, my parents raised me to be a strong, independent woman, capable and confident in who I am, standing up for me in injustice and teaching me to do the same for others. In that vein, my husband has always encouraged me to chase my dreams, even when he didn’t understand them. More recently, in my personal growth, any work by Brené Brown is worth a mention. She speaks my language and calls out greatness.
Professionally, I just want to acknowledge the women who own small businesses who have come before me, specifically in the Edible magazine publishing world. Women like Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian, Edible Communities, Inc. founders, who have laid the groundwork for the continued success of a network of independently-owned locally-focused magazine businesses.
Photos courtesy of Edible Ojai & Ventura County