How it all began...
In September 2017, I got a wake-up call I could no longer ignore. During my years of waitressing, I've seen many things I wish I could improve, but this was the straw that broke the camel's back. I discovered that the upscale Thai restaurant, where I bartended in Portland, was not serving the wholesome, made-from-scratch meals my mind had portrayed. Instead, everything on the menu was prepared with MSG as well as other ingredients that I avoid eating at home. When I asked the owners about their ingredients, I was repeatedly lied to. When the truth finally came out, it was even suggested that we deny the use of MSG to our customers. As a nutritionist, I was faced with a predicament I could no longer turn my cheek to.
Was it the responsibility of the customer to ask more questions or do more research?
Was it the responsibility of the restaurant that they over-emphasized their farmhouse image?
Was I the only person who really cared?
When I finally sat down with the owners and they came clean about MSG in the food, one of them brought up a brilliant point. His exact words, in a thick accent were, "You could go any places, any places, I guarantee you any places. They are never gonna tell you they put MSG, but on the ingredients they already have MSG in it." What he meant was, 'All the other restaurants are doing the same thing. Why are you making such a big deal that we are doing this, too?'
Talking with others about this story, I found most everyone has a story about 'This one place that does this unthoughtful act, even though their image is healthy and eco-friendly.' Following their horror story was usually a prideful list of their favorite truthful restaurants, suggesting I should eat there instead.
So what is Healthy?
For just a moment let's pause the argument if MSG, or any other specific ingredient, is good or bad for you. My question has always been, Why are you hiding what's in the food?
Narkal encourages us to each seek out our own answer to what we believe is a healthy, balanced diet for ourself. We all come from unique backgrounds and cultures. We should celebrate that this diversity has led us to infinite, delicious food choices!
Our mission at Narkal is to create transparency in our food system, by giving individuals access to knowing what's in their food, where it comes from, and where their waste will go. As individuals, we then have the choice to know or to stay in the dark.
What are Narkal's values?
Honesty — Marketing your company and menu in an honest way by providing accurate information regarding ingredients and green practices.
Healthy — Striving to find the healthier choices that meets our individual needs, values, and beliefs.
Environmentally Conscious — Taking the extra step in recycling, and composting. Choosing methods that eliminate creating excess waste.