Guam- A new restaurant in Tumon is using local herbs with medicinal properties from a unique local farm to better promote fresh and healthier choices, while eating delicious food.
Bernice Nelson has been the owner of Amot Taotao Tano Farms in Dededo since August 2010.
From an assortment of peppers, local mulberry bushes, and plants used for medicinal purposes, she talks about how she began this adventure in growing an organic garden unique from any other farm on Guam.
Renowned Guam Chef Kotwal Singh has been on island for nearly 20 years and is the owner of Grand Taj Curry and Grill in Tumon, which opened up about 5 months ago. Previously a chef for the Hard Rock Cafe and the Hyatt Resort, he met Nelson through Dr. Vince Akimoto. Upon learning about Nelson’s plants and herbs associated with treating illnesses, he quickly became interested in using her herbs for many dishes in his Indian cuisine restaurant.
While he challenges his colleagues in the food and restaurant industry to buy local produce, he mainly wants to encourage the local community that it is possible to make healthy choices and eat delicious food paired with herbs and spices. He says it’s all about preventative medicine, which can help someone avoid going to the doctor to treat ailments.
Nelson also talks about the medicinal qualities of some of the plants she grows in her farm that are featured in Singh’s Restaurant.
Like Singh, she feels many people rely on prescriptions and popping pills and don’t know too much about locally grown herbs that are good for treating diabetes, gout and other illnesses.
So from the farm to the kitchen, Chef Singh uses Nelson’s herbs in his daily lunch buffet. He also prepared a special salad for us to taste.
Using various greens and Nelson’s herbs, he mixed a salad with his special homemade dressing and tops it with tomatoes, local mullberries, mint, Santa Maria and cashew nuts for texture. Although the salad may be simple, he mainly encourages people it is possible to eat healthier without giving it a second thought.
If you are interested in learning more about medicinal plants and herbs, stop by Nelson’s organic farm in Dededo from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.. But call her first at 637-7201.
Chef Singh also invites you to stop by the Grand Taj Curry and Grill in Tumon and follow him on Facebook for more healthy cooking tips as well.