spending the day with Helene Henderson is an experience to remember. Whether at the actual Malibu Farm where she lives with her director husband, brood of boys, goats and a few chickens, or out at the end of the Malibu Pier where she runs the cafe of the same name, a day with Helene is not quickly forgotten.
It could be all the Swedish pancakes. But it is also Helene’s playful, laid-back Malibu attitude, close-knit family, and the incredible organic fare she whips up at both locales for family and lucky Malibu locals. Helene is author of The Swedish Table and cooks for VIP clients all over the city with a clean, delicious approach to fresh and local eating. Malibu Farm, the cafe, hangs out over the Pacific Ocean just an arm’s length from one of the Bu’s top surfing spots and, though its been open just a couple of years, feels like it’s been part of the neighborhood for decades.
A morning out on the pier, cozied up in Malibu Farm’s sweet and salt-scrubbed Swedish dining room, is a dreamy immersion into the perfect beach moment we’re after at the end of all our PCH cruising. Helene’s killer vitamin B juice shots, quinoa oatmeal, Cafe Luxxe coffees and simple lunch fare keep us coming back for more.
We asked Helene to share a glimpse inside her typical Malibu day, both on her busy home farm and out on the pier where her sons take turns flipping Swedish pancakes and hitting the waves. Here’s Helene…
Time to feed the animals – goats, pig, chickens, dogs and the cat – everyone hungry, everyone happy to see me, no complaints, my best “customers!” I gather the eggs from the coop, which I will bring to the café.
I receive the first of a series of texts from the café staff. They need yogurt, someone is late, and something is broken.
Lucky for me, I only have one kid, Caden, who still needs to be fed breakfast – unfortunately for me, that one kid is vegan… it is always a struggle to get him enough protein. I must also make him a lunch box. Vegan…
Drop Caden at school and go for a quick jog. I used to be faster, now I move in slow-mo. I run into Owen Wilson who lives a few blocks away, he is running in the opposite direction. I ask where he has been because I have not seen him at the café for few days. He says, see you later.
Quick shower. Grabbing some kale from the garden, a handful of almonds, frozen blackberries, a squeeze of agave, soy milk and water – toss it all in the blender and it is breakfast on the go.
At the café, spending some time cooking in the back, then taking inventory, placing orders, answering emails. Someone brings me a latte.
Café is getting busy, so I may be expediting – making sure tables are getting the right menu items, and or bussing tables, washing dishes – as a restaurant owner, no task is beneath you.
My older son, Casper, shows up for work… three hours late. Luckily he lives with the boss. He is funny, so I forgive him
Gary from Caffe Luxxe gives us a coffee refresher tutorial – coffee is serious business, you have to keep that grind just right at all times, or the coffee taste bitter.
Laird Hamilton shows up from surfing with a group of friends – we make him an extra super-size portion – he is an amazing athlete and burns a lot of calories.
Café closes. Over a staff meal composed of kale salad, chicken soup with avocado and jalapenos and cheese paninis, we discuss how we can do better tomorrow, what we did well, and what problems we had. I rush home to pick up Caden from school.
I check the vegetable gardens and pick produce to bring to the café the next morning. Right now we have mulberries, citrus, peaches, and asparagus. I check on the bees and make sure they are still there. Sometimes your bees leave – breaking your heart.
Night time feeding of all animals – then dinner for Caden. He eats nothing but rice, beans and broccoli. Check on his homework.
Head to catering job. Client told me, very casual dinner, just another family with a lot of kids. Walk in to find Brad and Angie. Thanks for the heads up…
Back home – closing the chicken coop, so the coyotes will not eat them during the night.
Looks utterly amazing. And those Swedish pancakes! Can we get the recipe please?
They’re pretty fabulous, Clair! They’re a staple in Helene’s repertoire – classic Swedish pancakes – but if you’re ever in the area, stop by Malibu Farm to try for yourself! xo
A message for Helen.
I was fortunate to travel to Soderham, Sweden years ago for business. I ate lax planka at Albertinas restaurant (just north of Soderham. It was salmon baked on cedar planks surrounded by mashed pototoes & a delicious sauce on top. Do you have any idea what the sauce most likely would be. The dish was so good I ate the same the next night.