Born and raised on the edge of tiny town in the center of North Carolina, Eden Loring is the final woman to become a member of the Priya Club. She is a natural foods chef, a published author, and has a new television show coming in the spring.
Eden was raised by her mother and her grandmother. Neither one has more than an eighth-grade education. After much sacrifice on all their parts, Eden did earn a high school diploma (and an advanced culinary degree), but her younger brother, a natural academic, is the one expected to bring home the first college degree in family history.
Eden’s best friend within the Priya Club is Devon Conley.
A native of North Carolina, Eden is Devon’s best friend inside the Priya Club. They had met about ten years ago, when Devon had been looking for a private chef to accompany her family to their place in Jackson Hole, WY. Ava had recommend Eden, who, at the time, was doing contract work for one of the top caterers in the city.
Before that day, that miraculous day, when Ava had called with the offer for Jackson Hole, Eden had never had the courage to consider, or even hope for, the life she lived now. There were bestselling books carrying her name, and a new television show coming in the spring. She had already made more than enough money on the books to take care of her mother and grandmother, and to provide her brother with the best schools – things which would never have happened otherwise.
But those luxuries would never compare to the simple joy of a good night’s sleep on a full stomach.
Keep an eye on this space for hints about the thrills in Eden’s story.
Keep an eye on this space for hints about the love in Eden’s story.
Helaina Karras owns “The Darlings,” a fleet of restaurants she designed that incorporates the particular lifestyles and favorite foods of the Priya Club members. Each woman eats and drinks for free at her namesake establishment.
Eden’s Garden is the restaurant inspired by Eden Loring. The menu is always changing. What’s fresh and ripe is what’s served that day. Reminiscent of a natural food chef’s dream diner, Eden’s Garden is open for breakfast, lunch, and early dinner. There is not a square inch of marble or granite in sight. Simple counter tops and vinyl booths are as spotlessly clean as every other inch of the restaurant, and hold simple plates and cutlery. Children’s artwork is layered on the main wall and all patrons are offered a complimentary piece of fresh fruit to take home with them.
One hundred percent of net profits from Eden’s Garden go to staffing and stocking the special food trucks run by Eden’s charity, an organization that brings fresh, natural foods to the school yards of underprivileged children all over the Washington, D.C., area.
To grow up in a poor, but loving, family is to know that life’s greatest blessings are not delivered in wrapped packages, set under a glowing tree. For the Lorings, December 24th is their most sacred day of the year. For months in advance, each member of the family prepares his or her gift to give that day. Only one gift may be given, a gift of the spirit, and it must be for everyone present.
Eden’s earliest memories are of sitting on her mother’s lap, by a warm fire, listening to her grandmother sing songs of triumph over tragedy, of love over hate. Christmas songs. Granny’s gift to the family, and before too long, Eden’s little brother’s gift, as well. Her mother would recount their whole year, finding the good in every struggle, the blessing in every disappointment. A heart of gold, she had, something she was born with.
And Eden? Her gift has always been with food. A kindly neighbor always took the time to bring a fresh duck, one he had shot and cleaned himself, to the house on the morning of Christmas Eve. The house had no plumbing and no running water. Eden cooked that meat to perfection over a small cast-iron stove her pioneering ancestors had dragged to this very spot in a wagon.
Being together — grateful and loving — these were their Christmas presents. When interviewers would ask what presents she got as a child, Eden always responded with the truth: Everything I prayed for.