Not too many Liberian men are professional chefs. True, there are a few proud and skillful ones who can cook up a storm, but going into business for it is really “the extra mile”, if you will. This is the journey of Thalmus Hare, founder and CEO of LIB Food. He’s one of the few who are proud about being ‘the man in the kitchen’; not just for the love of feeding his family, but making a living at it, serving a large population of Liberians throughout the United States.
“I think the credit belongs to the countless female cooks who inspired me,” says Hare. “They are the ones who slaved several years of their lives in the kitchen to prepare home cooked meals day in and day out. They deserve the credit. As a chef now, I have more equipment to work with and many more tools to make my life easier.” I cherish the ones that came before me. I had an aunt named ‘Sis Dorothy’, who is no longer with us; if only she was here to get the credit she deserved,” he says reminiscently.
This Liberian native based in the US prepares one of the most mouth watering Liberian Cuisines that, when tasted, evoke in his customers a state of nostalgia, taking folk back to the days when men where boys and women where girls, eagerly anticipating their favorite Liberian dish, dessert or delicacy.
Born in 1978, Thalmus Y. Hare, is a native of Liberia, and has had a passion for cuisine since childhood. Thalmus’ adolescence was lined with travels between West Africa and the United States due to civil unrest in Liberia. As fate would have it, his exposure to various cuisines has resulted in the fusion of flavors enjoyed by his now loyal clientele including Herman Cain, who was a candidate for the 2012 U.S. Republican Party presidential nomination. “To see him licking his fingers while eating some BBQ meatballs I did was satisfying. To him, of course! I enjoyed that,” Thalmus recalls about a banquet he catered for Cain in the past.
From Palm Butter and Torgborgee to rice bread and coconut candy, this food genius makes it all. And perhaps what makes his food even more appealing is the passion and professionalism he puts into it. LIBFood.com has a grade ‘A’ from the U.S. Department of Health, which means Hare and team have met all the safety and sanitary standards prescribed for food services by U.S. regulations. Now, averaging “over 200 bowls a month” shipped from Hare’s kitchen, the chef’s ‘food photos’ on Facebook makes you want to eat even if you’re not hungry.
Chef Hare is propelling the distinctive cuisine of Liberia into an international spotlight by pushing limits via his creation of exciting Liberian dishes presented with a modern experience and a promising business model.
At the age of seven, Thalmus’ journey within the culinary arts began. He immediately learned the importance of using the freshest ingredients while growing up in his mother Grace Hare’s restaurant, named “Thalgus”, and made sure to make use of them in his cooking. After school or during the summer, Thalmus would follow his mother and cooks from his home to the various food markets to obtain first hand experience with product selection and processing. Much of Liberian cuisine concentrates on rice, manioc, bananas (especially green bananas), citrus fruits, coconut, sweet potatoes, yams, cocoyam, plantains, mangos, pineapples and various sorts of nuts.
“I am a firm believer in the fact that you do what you know”.
Naturally many Liberian dishes contain these ingredients and heavily consist of rice meals and fruits, which are used in various salads, main courses and desserts. In October 2010, Thalmus established LIBFood.com. In only a few years, his online Liberian gourmet outlet has attracted many Liberians and Non-Liberians alike. LIBFood.com creates gourmet cuisine containing all natural ingredients, which are distributed in all fifty states (USA) and to a select few internationally. LIBFood.com also caters in the spirit of community and satisfying its discerning diners.
Thalmus is a graduate of The Art Institute of Atlanta with a Culinary Degree. Hare has had the honor to cook for the likes of Herman Cain, Ronnie Milsap, The Oakridge Boys, Newt Gingrich, Dr. Richard Lee and Shane from Shane’s Rib Shack to name a few. This food genius’s passion goes beyond innovative cuisine; he’s also a humanitarian and is also exhibited in his philanthropic efforts. He supports many fundraisers and charities at local churches in the State of Georgia.