Life lessons through Live Foods
Andy Pether is a familiar face around the streets of Maleny, often with a big smile on his face and plenty of energy in his step. Through his Live Foods venue, he has had the opportunity to share his passion for health and love of plant-based fresh food with customers and the community. We farewell him this month as the café closes its doors and he shares his story from being overweight and unhealthy to energetic, nutritionally conscious and full of life.
by Angela Reedman-Polinksi
Born and bred in Western Australia, Andy Pether is the local owner of Live Foods Café and Restaurant on the Landsborough-Maleny Rd in Maleny.
He migrated to the Sunshine Coast when he was 35-years-old for family reasons and worked in the security industry, designing security solutions for corporations and government agencies.
“The pattern I had created was a sedentary corporate lifestyle. Combined with my poor eating patterns it led me to obesity and a shock heart attack at just 39 years of age,” Andy shared.
“The pain was like a spear coming through my back and into my heart. I headed off to the doctor and was referred directly to the hospital.”
The pain continued and after being admitted to the hospital, there were lengthy tests and the results then confirmed it was a heart attack.
“I sat there at just 39-years-old amongst men much older than me in the waiting room and waited for my results. It was a really painful, difficult and confronting time,” admitted Andy.
“After I was released back out of the hospital, I met up with a buddy who was eating a plant-based diet and he gave me ideas on how to change my eating patterns and showed me a video which changed everything for me.”
First Andy changed to a vegetarian diet and stayed with that for two days before choosing to go completely vegan.
“I started out and thought I may as well go the whole way and choose vegan and then I began to learn even more and incorporated a lot of raw food into my diet. That is when I saw really big changes.”
After two years of eating raw food, he had completely rid himself of his pre-existing conditions and no longer needed regular medications for heart disease, reflux or asthma.
“I felt fitter, younger and energetic from head to toe and my strength and stamina increased in every area of my life.”
Andy felt the drive to share what he had learned and opened his first Live Foods Café on the Montville Road.
“It was a successful spot with plenty of local and tourist traffic. The business logo was designed by my former partner, Laura, and represented my combination of heart focus and fresh food designed around health on a plate,” Andy explained.
The café menu included a range of delicious raw food including raw nachos, raw key lime pie, raw chocolate ganache pie, red lentil and coconut dahl, ginger chai and veggie tarts.
“There were only five other raw food cafés on the coast at that time and I operated the Montville Road café successfully for three years. I also offered raw food cooking lessons and special event meals, it was busy and had a supportive following of regular customers.
“We had a funny moment when a big muscle-bound man came in with his girlfriend and wanted to know where the meat was and wanted us to ‘throw some chicken in it’ to make it a decent meal.”
Andy laughed, “I challenged him to a deal – if he was still hungry after his lunch, I would happily refund his meal. He agreed and when he finished his meal, he shared an apology with us and said how much he loved it!”
It hasn’t all been funny moments though, Andy shared how running a café is hard work and takes its toll on family hours and life balance.
“I tried to keep open on Sunday afternoons for the people that wanted to make use of those days but by mid-afternoon, the tourists are leaving, and we just saw a few faces occasionally after that. Paying for staff versus staying open is a balance that is hard to find.”
When Andy finally closed the Montville Road café, he took 11 months off to refocus and take good care of his health.
“People kept asking me if I was going to reopen or do cooking classes; it was often there in the back of my mind.”
He researched an idea of tapping into the wedding industry locally by providing the catering for vegan weddings and another idea of creating vegan pizza nights with healthy foods and delicious plant-based cheese.
Feeling renewed and excited to begin again, he created a GoFundMe campaign to reopen the café in late November 2017 on Landsborough-Maleny Road, Maleny, next to the Big Wine Barrel.
“I used completely the same menu of favourites and then added a few new ideas. I was also able to offer wedding catering which could be tailored to specific dietary needs and wants”
“This new service meant that a couple’s special day could be fully catered by Live Foods Café and the party could know that all the food served on the day would be gluten-free, organic, healthy, and cruelty-free,” Andy said with a hint of pride.
However, due to unexpected changes, Andy has had to close the café and restaurant this month and is recollecting his thoughts and plans to create a new focus for 2019.
“Running a business without support is the number one mistake, it takes a lot of hours and planning to keep it on track and it is hard to do it alone when unexpected changes come in,” Andy explained.
“I’ll be using this year to re-focus on my health, consider my options and reflect on what I achieved at Live Foods Café and Restaurant.”
I’m sure all who have met Andy will miss his cafe’s delicious presence, and wish him well.
Hinterland Times direct to your inbox!
Get the Hinterland Times delivered directly to your inbox every month absolutely FREE