I’m a huge fan of healers supporting each other so when I was approached by Mel Nicola (owner of The Cayenne Experience ) to cover this piece, I was overjoyed at the idea. There is nothing more exciting than a group of healers coming together to offer an experience that leaves one feeling a little better about how they live and will continue to live.
I had the fortune of asking Mel some questions and these were her answers:
1. What inspired you to start these ‘Cayenne’ events? I have acquired many years of life experience through the lens of the hospitality industry. Have co-owned four restaurants in L.A. spanning three decades. Yet, while operating an iconic luxury brand fine-dining restaurant such as Nic's in Beverly Hills where my soul was still seeking something. I wasn't sure what that was or looked like, so I began my journey to find a balance. Through interesting forces of nature I found myself in south central L.A at a high school where I was asked to collaborate on a culinary arts curriculum. I realized youth, in under served communities, need pathways out from poverty. I formed a non profit called Culinary Arts Kids Eat, also known as C A K E to inspire youth to live a healthy lifestyle. C A K E also provides tools, toolkit and resources to lift youth out of poverty. Our youth grow their own food hydroponically, develop fresh healthy recipes and study health-wellness-nutrition. They also practice yoga & mindful meditation, create their own cookbook called' From Our Hood To Yours". They become social entrepreneurs and ambassadors of health.
As word spread of the C A K E program, we had folks from Apple, Wolfgang Puck Company, American Heart Association, California Endowment all wanting to know, where can they take these classes?I began to craft an adult version of CAKE that could be enjoyed as a mini retreat. We want you to leave the ground but not on an airplane, no need for TSA! An extra bonus is that the advanced CAKE team are the servers and sous chefs! The youth are able to utilize the skills they have learned and begin to create prosperity.It's a win win!
2. What is the inspiration behind the name, ‘Cayenne’? Cayenne is spicy, hot and has the ability to heal. Many of cayenne, the spice’s, properties can prevent cancers and work as healing agents within our body. Cayenne, the experience, is an event based series filled with sensory adventures for our soul. Healing us from within and forming communities to share our energies. It says, food is life and through food, we can connect with our bodies and lift each other to a life of happiness, joy,bliss and vitality.
3. I know that you have a culinary and restaurant background, how is what you are doing now different from owning a restaurant? Cayenne is able to connect much deeper with our guests and our events are set to be gatherings, intimate and powerful. Cayenne blends the power of healing arts with one of a kind culinary adventures. As a tribe we learn the art of mixing beverages with foraged items. As we break bread together as a newly united family we are joined by a motivational speaker who will inspire us to live the life we were designed to.Restaurants as incredible as they may be are set to primarily feed you an incredible meal. At Nic's, we mixed in many artistic layers to one’s experience:cool, hip and inspired art - live music -handcrafted cocktails and delicious food. Cayenne takes you to a new level of sensory experience, everything becomes heightened.
4. Please describe the experience that you would like to create in these events?Cayenne events are set to activate our reason to be, to guide us and open up new ways of seeing life. How the world as we know it has evolved and how each of us has been formed from the cosmos.Our story was written a long time ago. We are all connected.To gift each for us ways in which we can tap into our souls. Expand our consciousness and combine ancient wisdom with modern thoughts.
5. What would you like the guests to take with them when they leave each dinner? That in each of us, we have the capacity to live a full rich, prosperous life. One of invite health and well being. We are already complete. Being still and quiet each day will allow us to go deep within and expand our knowledge of how we have been created. Once we are able to connect within, our consciousness will open and intuition will fill us and we will become harmonic with the energies around us. This synergy will attract other like-minded people into our lives and create a powerful vibration. We will live in the flow.The hope is that this powerful transformation is gifted to each guest through the wisdom from the healers. That each of us leave with teachable tools that we will add to our day. Slowly the point of power is in the present will resonate, begin to live and have a deeper connection to humanity.
6. Bringing healers together is something very powerful, where do you see these events taking you in the future? Bringing healers together is a powerful source of deep energy. Our bodies are composed of energy and healers have the power to transform how the energy flows through our body. Awakening each cell and when this happens and a group is in a state of flow, a tremendous energetic current lifts up a community! So it is is so important that each of us is concours of who we are around, that the energies coming from them are positive and uplifting. We then become the conduit. It is important that we understand the science behind this though, that is why each of our healers discuss the process with the guests first. Wisdom is key, then practice.
7. What does healing mean to you?
As our current world situation is in a tremendous flux, the energy of the entire planet is disrupted. How do we gain our footing and continue as we had before? How do we get back to being comfortable? And, not feeling off? We don't. The earth is evolving and we as humans are as well. We are being asked now to step into the next phase of our evolution, to actually design it. We are at a loss as to what this should look like. Similar to when the single-cell traveled through the Cosmos and became a multiple cell. How did that occur? We are designing the bridge from human, to humanity. It's a quantum leap. Healers are the guides to gifting us how to navigate the formidable road ahead.
8. What is your contribution as a healer?My role is to gather the healers and create a wonderful experience for guests and healers to share life with one another.
9. What do you believe healing can do for LA, in particular, and maybe the world? Healing artists will be our guides and asking each of us to take the long deep breath. To be open to recognizing we, humans, are a new species on this earth. We are now advancing to the next level of consciousness. The narrative we had all lived by before know longer serves us. Science has show us there is 50 shades of grey matter and we are currently operate only using 2. Let's be open to expanding our capabilities and adapt to a knew paradigm. It's our adaptation of a deeper consciousness that will allow our species to survive.
10. Please tell us about the upcoming events you have This Autumn? As each Cayenne event is hand-curated we will feature unique components depending on our location. We will be hosting an event in one of the oldest distillery's in L.A. back from Speak Easy days. Guests will learn the art of mixing a hand crafted cocktail, tour the distillery, imbide on cocktails and appetizers and connect with a powerful motivational speaker. Other locations are set across the city in a West Hollywood home where we can combine healing, culinary and mix classes. At a private home in Malibu, guests will set their intention as we overlook the expansive Santa Monica Mountains and be guided on a transformational journey that will inform each of us on how best we may be of service and how to live with passion.
More about Mel Nicola
Mel Nicola is a visionary restauranteur who is presently inspiring under-served youth to live a healthy lifestyle. Mel believes that wisdom and guidance combined with opportunity will lift youth up out of poverty and into a life of prosperity and balance. To cultivate this experience Ms. Nicola has created, Culinary Arts Kids Eat a dynamic non-profit set to engage youth to become ambassadors of health to their communities.
As the executive director of CAKE, she provides hands on training in culinary arts, and professional expertise in the restaurant & hospitality industry
The CAKE program has empowered the lives of 550 teens and recognized by L.A. Times, ABC and NBC as an innovative and sustainable approach to breaking the cycle of poverty.
With so many requests from adults to attend the CAKE classes, Mel has since launched Cayenne. A series of sensory adventure workshops - mini retreats where you experience a true alignment with the inner soul.
Guests enjoy activities to harness our state of flow and the senses are engaged; culinary arts, healing arts, soulful music and supercharged inspirational speakers to guide us on the journey.
Each series is rooted in lifting you up and filling your life with purpose, gratitude balance, vitality and bliss.
Mel brings three decades of expertise in the hospitality industry combined with her visionary service to community.
Humans, being we are all connected, It is when we nourish the planet, that we harness our energy and connect deeply we then can nurture our souls becoming rooted in our humanity.