In San Francisco, we live in nature’s margin—where nature engages in an ever-changing relationship.

From the famed Bay Area fog that hovers amongst the clouds to the emerald greens of the plants and trees, the natural world perpetually moves around us. Yet it’s so easy to settle into daily city life, moving through the motions and letting the magic of the natural world slip our minds.

This week, during the first Studio Table dinner of the autumn season, we centered on the beauty of nature and its healing power. Our partner was Saje Natural Wellness: a Vancouver-based wellness brand dedicated to connecting people to the healing power of plants. Together we shared an evening talking and thinking about the close connection between healing, inspiration, and nature.

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Opening a dinner for healing the body and its senses, Saje diffused one of their signature essential oil blends with their aromaArt Ultrasonic Diffuser—a vessel for water that features a print designed by Heather. Part of the proceeds from their collaboration diffuser are going toward Drawbridge 4 Kids, a charity that has helped provide art programs for 30,000 homeless and underprivileged children in the Bay Area. Elsewhere in the studio, Lila B Designs’ greenery sculptures transformed Heather’s space into a lush oasis with flowing plants stationed around the studio and a verdant centerpiece accenting the table. Heather’s paintings lined the walls and anchored our conversation to the movement and energy of water. Since her work draws from the lines and textures found in travels through the Canadian Rockies and several of California’s national parks it acted as the perfect backdrop for the evening.

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When guests began to arrive, the space filled with with light music and the warm sounds of greetings and welcomes. Chef Ben opened the evening a cocktail inspired by the Saje Rainforest diffuser essential oil blend. At this dinner, we premiered Studio Table’s first plant-based menu, called Plant Textures. Inspired by the Hippocratic idea that “food is the first medicine,” Ben planned each of the courses that evening to correspond to an aspect of wellness that plants can support—Stress, Skin, Mind, Energy and Tummy. From dishes like the olive oil-poached tomato, the kale-coconut green curry and smoked tea broth, we enjoyed plants’ ability to not only heal, but also satiate us. A warming poached pear with rooibos tea ice cream rounded out the meal.

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During dinner, we discussed how moving towards true wellness means examining your whole life for balance. It’s easy to get thrown off kilter, especially with regards to meals. Feeling rushed and distracted encourages us to make less nourishing food choices and certainly distracts us from the fact we’re part of the natural world. It’s hard to admit to ourselves—and even harder to talk about in public. To help us speak candidly, Saje team member Kelly Kong presented guests with a card deck of #nofilter cards to encourage unfiltered conversations. Each person shared their answers with the guests in close proximity to them at the table, allowing us the opportunity to fully experience moments with new friends. Conversations ranged from creative playfulness to the need to make connections regularly, which speaks to the greater concept of Studio Table.

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Bringing people together, who might have not otherwise met, is truly the joy of Studio Table. By tackling the problem of disconnectedness, we can encourage authentic and organic connection. At these dinners we find ourselves challenging the traditional idea of what “dinner” looks like—and as each is so different, “dinner” always changes.

Our evening that night ended with a salute to Saje. In 1992, Kate Ross LeBlanc and her husband Jean-Pierre LeBlanc were inspired to introduce people to the power of 100% natural, plant-derived wellness products after a serious car accident left Jean-Pierre facing chronic pain. Seeking an effective and natural solution to recovery, he leveraged his background in chemistry to create Saje’s first essential oil blends, which are still sold today. Their beginnings as a small company with the mission to spread the healing properties of plants speaks to the drive of human creativity and passion.

From Ben’s culinary masterpiece to discussing creative inspiration, our evening landed us in places of possibility, allowed new stories to unfold and nourished our minds and bodies with plant-based wellness. We left the table feeling better connected to the beauty of the natural world around us—and to the magic that happens when strangers come together for an experience.

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A heartfelt thank you to Saje and every one of our guests at dinner.

Thanks for reading,
Michelle, Ben and Heather

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.
–Rachel Carson, environmentalist

A word on partnerships: With the objective of building lasting relationships in the San Francisco community, Studio Table agrees to partnerships with companies that share similar values. We’re thankful for companies like Saje that place such emphasis on supporting local businesses and creative individuals. With the goal of being as transparent as possible out of respect for our readers and in accordance with the FTC law of 2013, all content and opinions expressed are written by Studio Table members.

Written by Michelle Wei and Lauren Hsia. Edited and Polished by Kate Holthouser. Photos by Margaret Helfrich.

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