Dalet Hamby, co-owner of Roots, has always inspired to become a spiritually charged, socially responsible, healthy, determined and gregarious foodie. Her gastronomic path has been primarily shaped by her abnormal upstart. As a young girl, Barbie didn’t do it for her. She was partial to making spear heads and learning about different plants and animals with her mother, Norma. When she wanted money for something Norma would help her to brainstorm on how to acquire the funds. As a mini-businesswoman, Dalet quickly displayed her entrepreneurial force with a lemonade stand/garage sale that raised $300.
With a large family, Dalet spent a lot of time cooking as a child. It was a part of her culture and duty to partake in culinary prep, and the tedious task of cutting things like peppers and onions was thought to be a drag. She was often kicked out of the kitchen when the adults were talking about the “good stuff.” She yearned for the day she would be old enough to be included in clandestine conversations.
At age 14, Dalet decided to pursue professional figure skating and left home to live in New York. She did not have the typical high school experience with gossip, sleep-overs, and dances, she had a full-time job. Dalet’s world consisted of different specialized coaches, tutors and fellow skaters. Everyone was focused and intent on a common goal.
While living in New York, Dalet aspired to create a sense of home through cooking traditional dishes. She would call her mom frequently for cooking tips. On one of the Thanksgivings she spent in New York there were about five calls to California just for the arroz con pollo.
Dalet was tenaciously aspiring to be a figure skating coach and was scheduled to be in the Olympics. When she blew out her knee she had to change her career path. She remained in New York and worked at a gym as a Personal Trainer/Lifestyle Coach. She taught Pilates, corrective exercise and nutrition.
Dalet moved back to California in . To make up for lost times, she started spending lots of time with her mom. The two became inseparable, rollerblading, dancing salsa, shopping, snow-boarding and being in the kitchen together.
The former figure skater had been eating primarily for survival and fitness. She felt she had lost sight of the flavor characteristics distinct to her mother’s cooking. Norma has not only helped her to reconnect to those flavor profiles, she has imparted her culinary wisdom.
Evenings together frequently start by pouring a glass of wine, and then they delve into cooking, chatting and experimenting. This often results in deliciously inspired eats. She has learned a lot being in her mother’s presence and thinks she has finally acquired sazon, a term Norma uses to describe the family’s cooking proficiency. Dalet is also included in all of the exciting banter when her other elder relatives are in the kitchen.
Although the movie “Super Size Me” was certainly an impetus, Dalet initially chose the vegan and gluten free lifestyle because it made her feel better. She currently eats vegetarian, but tries to go vegan and gluten free as much as possible. She still uses agave syrup in her tea rather than honey. The opening of Roots has given her the ability to marry her passion for vegan and gluten free fare with her family’s florid Latin flavors.
Dalet feels that the experience of eating good, healthy food shouldn’t be exclusive to humans. As a hard-core dog lover, she has rescued three pooches total. Her first rescue was a chihauhua named Zorro, followed by a pit bull named Kuma. Dalet found her most recent rescue, Sonny, a three-and-a-half-year-old half pit bull/half bull dog, in the industrial part of Gardena. He was scratched up and 30 pounds under-weight. Sonny receives exceptional treatment and regular spoiling. His meals usually consist of pumpkin and brown rice because they are good for digestion. She will also give him leftover meat – from someone else’s dinner.
Norma Chavez, co-owner of Roots Gourmet, maintains a deep relationship with nature. As she soars on freshly powdered slopes on her snow board, swims the depths of salty waters with seaweed tickling her feet and climbs up cliff faces, her only internal struggle is deciding between which one she loves best: mountains or sea?
This vivacious woman rockets through life….on her 65′ Vespa. As a proud member of the Classic Scooter Club, she has ventured from Long Beach to the farther coastal reaches of Hermosa Beach and Laguna Beach. One of her favorite pastimes is cruising to the farmer’s market at the Marina on Sundays and filling her scooter basket with fresh bread and veggies. She likes to use this moment to pretend she’s in another country.
As a dedicated philanthropist, Norma donates her free time to volunteering at the Wells House Hospice Program here in Long Beach. She engages members of the program by reading to them, swapping stories and taking them on outings.
Norma is an artist but She wanted to capture some of her most vivid and alluring dreams. She bought a huge canvas, started sketching and ended up with an enormous painting of an ancient city. She also designed the logo for Roots.
This artistic drive has translated into alchemy in the Roots kitchen. “I love to cook, I love creating new spices, new blends and new ideas!” says Norma. The art of gourmet cooking compels Norma, but she also loves eating. She often revels in trying different dishes in both traditional and cutting-edge restaurants.
Norma’s mother and grandmother were both entrepreneurs. Working for herself has always been what’s come naturally. For many years Norma had a catering business called “Monitas,” a family nickname that means little doll. She had a business in which she artfully designed, beaded and welded jewelry. She established Mission Priority Lending, a real estate business, _____ years ago. She is also an owner of Egg Heaven. As an intrepid business woman in the Long Beach community, Norma knows that things like passion, imagination and unrelenting commitment lay the foundation for a successful business.