Edible Monterey Bay

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Local Food Community Loses Ardent Champion

From left, Aga Simpson, Deb Monnastes, Steve Brabeck, Ghion Brabeck and Annelise Wilford

March 6, 2018 – One of our local food community’s most beloved and enthusiastic advocates of food as medicine and cooking for good health died last week.

Dr. Stephen Brabeck, 67, passed away after a six-month illness.

A cardiologist who long took an active interest in the holistic health of his patients, Brabeck was also a survivor of congenital heart disease and upon his retirement in 2012, opened the Quail & Olive in Carmel Valley so he could share the heart-healthy properties and delicious flavors of fresh, high-quality local olive oils.

From the outset the store also carried an array of specialty vinegars and quickly developed both a devoted following and an extensive collection of products from local food and drink artisans.

Last year, it relocated to a bigger space around the corner to accommodate its growth and give Brabeck a place to share his passion for healthful and tasty eating with a series of cooking classes.

Brabeck was not able to launch the classes himself. But his daughter, Annelise Wilford, a radiologic technologist who shares her father’s passion for medicine and food and attended the Culinary Medicine program at Tulane University with Brabeck, is taking over the running of the store and will be fulfilling his dream of educating the public about healthful and flavorful cooking.

About the author

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SARAH WOOD—founding editor and publisher of Edible Monterey Bay—has had a life-long passion for food, cooking, people and our planet.

She planted her first organic garden and cared for her first chicken when she was in elementary school in a farming region of Upstate New York.

Wood spent the early part of her career based in Ottawa, Canada, working in international development and international education. After considering culinary school, she opted to pursue her loves for writing, learning about the world and helping make it a better place by obtaining a fellowship and an MA in Journalism from New York University.

While working for a daily newspaper in New Jersey, she wrote stories that helped farmers fend off development and won a state-wide public service award from the New Jersey Press Association for an investigative series of articles about a slumlord who had hoodwinked ratings agencies and investment banks into propping him up with some early commercial mortgage securitizations. The series led Wood to spend several years in financial journalism, most recently, as editor-in-chief of the leading magazine covering the U.S. hedge-fund industry.

Wood could not be happier to now be writing and editing articles about the Monterey Bay foodshed and the amazing people who help make it so vibrant and diverse. And, after spending much of her adult life gardening on fire escapes, she’s very glad to be planting in the ground again.

Wood lives with her husband, Rob Fisher, a fourth-generation Californian, and young daughter in Carmel Valley. Their favorite meal is a picnic dinner at Pt. Lobos State Reserve.