A bulletproof recipe!

With Liam Flanagan from The Roadhouse Café Byron Bay...

You describe your time in the kitchen began with “making coffee” and “messing with herbs” its so clear that you have a wonderful passion for food…where and how did this evolve? I know you spent a lot of time in NYC when you were playing music.

My journey with food has been one of trying to find a place of wellness after reading the writing on the wall.  I was living a pretty toxic lifestyle, just enjoying my youth in the city, playing music, partying, not sleeping, making coffee, living cheap, eating cheap. it was fun. But it was pretty taxing on my body.

In my early 20’s I started developing arthritic conditions in my wrists and back, I was getting sick all the time, I had chronic RSI, I’d get crippling pain in my gut, I was depressed, lethargic, and disillusioned. I was receiving bad advice from doctors, bordering upon idiotic, I realised this is not the way, these guys don’t have any answers, and I’ll quite likely do a lot better on my own, so I kind of immersed myself in learning about food as medicine, trying to figure out what a Human diet was actually supposed to look like (Turns out that food pyramid we got taught at school was a little bit off the mark), and trying to attain a certain degree of health sovereignty rather than outsourcing my responsibilities to muppets.

So I suppose my passion for food and herbs evolved more from a nutritional and medicinal standpoint. Once I started to resolve old issues using mother nature, it evoked something pretty deep in me.

You grow your own veggies here at your Byron Bay home, what’s the trick to a heathy garden?

Its taken a while to get the soil working for us here. I’m a bit of a kook in the garden really but i have spent a lot of time there over the past few years so I have made heaps of mistakes, therefore i am now less bad at gardening.

Sun, rain water, attention, diversity, soil biology, pH, mulch, mulch. I’ve thrown the kitchen sink at it; compost tea, biochar, manure, ormus, seaweed, wood chip, and a few other bits and pieces. I don’t know if there is a “trick” to it, other than the fact that you have to garden to have a healthy garden. I suppose one way to trick your garden into responding would be to do a permaculture course… but then of course you have to get into the garden anyway, and you may find that all that time you spent doing a permaculture course maybe you should have just been in the garden.

We eat a lot of our more substantial meals at the Roadhouse these days so the garden is a bit neglected, but i do have a diverse lot of medicinal herbs and flowers that we can graze on or add to salads when we’re at home, and the cool thing about herbs is that a lot of them are weeds and still have intact phytochemistry so they need a lot less attention and mollycoddling and they give you a lot of bang for their buck in terms of nutrients.

It was once said; “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need”. Do you agree? How do you take time out…?

Nah, I need someone to share it with. community is so important, friends, relationships. I reckon I could be happy mooching around my garden reading books for at least a decade though but I want intimacy and family as well. and surfing. life is less good without surfing.
If i need time out its generally spent in nature. Anjuna and myself love exploring the creeks and national parks. Juni is a mad crystal hunter so she’ll find crystals and I’ll search for mushrooms.

Your cafe ‘The Roadhouse’ which you own along with four other local partners you mention has been a great vehicle for “Giving back and creating opportunities for local involvement” explain what you mean buy this?

It’s cool being able to support other local businesses and farmers, create jobs for our friends and facilitate them supporting there own families, all through good food. It has also been cool having a vehicle to infuse what we have learned about food over the years into the menu and give people nourishment and a nice place to hang out away from town. 

Which cultures inspire some of your Roadhouse recipes?

The chefs are all over this. We have some amazing chefs that are constantly coming up with diverse dishes. Jerome and Sky, Reece and Emile, Mali. Diverse backgrounds with different influences. I’ve been loving bone broth with Shitake and pumpkin for breakfast…. I suppose that’s’ a bit Japanese isn’t it? 

Beautiful Byron is a huge tourist destination. Are you eager to travel again yourself?

It gets pretty full on here. All year round there are festivals and holiday makers, its part of what this place is about, it draws people in from everywhere, its a very unique area. Winter is beautiful and has a certain slowness to it but summer can get you if you let it.
I’m super keen to travel. I’m dreaming of waves and hot springs and old growth forests and food and culture. not sure where to next though… maybe south island NZ or Mexico? i haven’t been out of Australia in a couple of years! its pretty easy to have a stay-cation when you live where we do.

The Roady is one of the very few cafes in the world just yet, to serve BULLET coffee… What is it? Talk us through the process of making this brew…

Bulletproof coffee is basically black coffee blended with butter, or butter and coconut oil. it was popularised by an American bloke who is a bit of a marketing genius, bulletproof coffee is his brand, so we just call it butter coffee.

When you combine certain herbs with fats the compounds in the herbs will tend to be absorbed more effectively and have an easier transition through the gut wall, this is partly due to the fact that some compounds are more fat soluble and some are water soluble. For instance curcurmin, a compound found in turmeric is fat soluble, curcumin is also the compound that has been touted as the source of turmerics anti-inflammatory effects, this is perhaps why traditionally turmeric is serve with or cooked in a fat.

Coffee has so many beneficial compounds in it, for the brain, heart, liver. it has definitely got a pretty bad wrap, but there is such an abundance of information in the medical literature about the benefits of coffee now that I think people will start coming back around.
Butter also has a bit of a bad wrap but the truth of the matter is that as long as you can digest a small amount of casien (allergic protein for some people) it is giving you a good source of fat soluble vitamins like A,D,E,K, antimicrobial short chain fatty acids, omega 3, saturated fat to make hormones and its about the yummiest thing going.  A Buttery (note Australian-ism) definitely gets my brain going in the morning and keeps my appetite satiated until I feel like eating a meal, its also a fantastic way to have a herbal tea or hot chocolate.


If you are making one at home you are going to need a blender (hopefully glass or BPA free plastic), some way to brew your coffee (I like pour-over or Aeropress, but a percolator, French press, espresso, anything will work), about a tablespoon or two of butter depending on how creamy you like it, and some coconut or MCT oil. I have one customer who will bring his own butter, have two coffees over and hour or two with half a block in each, I wouldn’t recommend this, Tino has some strange digestive capabilities, but I just mention it to illustrate the fact that you have room to move with quantities.

I like to pre-heat the vessel I will drink from and the blender with hot water so that i don’t lose to much heat to convection and end up drinking luke-warm coffee.
so basically
1. make coffee
2. add oils of choice
3. blend
4. drink

I love to add tincture of whatever herbs i am working with, or sometimes spices like cardamon, cayenne, cinnamon, or vanilla.

If coffee just doesn’t work for you or you find it too stimulating this works extremely well with roasted dandelion root tea,  a decoction of reishi or chaga, or generally any palatable bitter herb. It may take a few gnarly drinks until you hit your own sweet spot with ratios of oils, and coffee, but keep at it, its worth it.

Visit the Roadhouse cafe, Byron Bay HERE

All images by Nathan Oldfield 


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