Lekker [Lack-ah]: South African slang adjective meaning the best of the best; “Local is lekker!”
If there is anyone who can teach us about the lekker lifestyle, it is our very own, Myrtle Beach born and raised, Jordan Lazarus. Jordan takes pride in her roots and loves the tight-knit community we have here. Her family is and always has been very close. The big family gatherings have always been hosted in Jordan’s home, which is where she first got her hands dirty in the kitchen by helping her mom prepare meals. Growing up, Jordan loved exploring the area and was always at the beach or on the boat.
After she graduated from Myrtle Beach High School in 2010, she began her studies at the College of Charleston. She graduated with a degree in arts management and a double minor in studio art and theatre in 2014. All of her friends were seeking out jobs and places to direct their next steps in life, but Jordan did not want to just pick a place or settle on a job. She craved adventure and wanted to continue exploring the world. Jordan’s older sister, Tia, has always been her confidant and someone she looks up to, so Jordan asked her for advice. They discussed a mutual friend who was in the work of yachting and gathered information from her on how to get started.
Two weeks after college graduation, she sold her car and used her graduation money to buy a one-way ticket to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She stayed in a crew house and completed the course to be deemed qualified to work at sea. Shortly after, she moved onto her first private yacht where she worked as a stewardess and deckhand. She stayed on each boat for about a year and took travel vacations for a couple of months in between yachting. She eventually worked her way up to lead stewardess and lived like this for a total of 6 years. She says, “It’s a 5-star hotel on water.” She was working 13-16 hours a day nonstop and still living it up across many countries until 2016 when her whole world changed.
Jordan is a resilient and strong woman, so when she did not feel well, she knew something was really wrong. At first, she tried to blame her exhaustion on her strict work ethic. Once she realized she lost 12 pounds in a week and was constantly thirsty even though she was chugging water, she knew there was more to it. No one took her very seriously at first, but once she informed the captain of the lumps she discovered on her lower abdomen, he insisted she needed help. The next morning, she went to the hospital in Catania, Italy, along with a translator because no one spoke English. There she was in a bum hospital, curled up on the floor, sick, helpless, and asleep in the arms of her translator. Jordan always hated needles and her mother would give her chocolate to help calm her down. The translator retrieved some candy from the vending machine and as she was indulging in her only comfort, the doctors came by to run more tests. They pricked her finger to test her blood sugar and were astonished by the results. Their eyes shot open real big as they snatched the chocolate from her hands and preceded to yell loudly in Italian. This was the moment Jordan was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease that she had no way of preventing, Type 1 Diabetes.
She headed home for a few months to learn how to live her new lifestyle. She even started a blog which can be found on Instagram: butfirst_insulin. She wanted to share her story and mindset because she does not want anyone in the DOC (Diabetic Online Community) to feel alone. She explained, “We were all given the same diagnosis and told there is so much we CANNOT do, but I am here to tell the world about what we CAN still do.” Once she became well acquainted with her daily routine and less afraid of needles, she decided she wanted to push herself into an out-of-this-world situation to prove she could still live her same adventurous life, just with more caution. Everyone told her how much her life would change with her debilitating disease, so naturally, as everyone was telling her what she cannot do, she replied with a smile that actually meant, “watch me!”
She traveled through South Africa for 3 months. She camped in a desert for 12 days, danced her heart out at AfrikaBurn festivals, and hiked Table Mountain – Jordan was truly on top of the world. Since she survived this extraordinary situation, she decided to return to her exciting yachting work. Unfortunately, she was having to run around in a skort with no place to keep her finger-pricking device and having to eat foods on board with unknown ingredients. These circumstances were not quite healthy for her diagnosis. To continue yachting, Jordan knew she would have to advance her role on the boat. She needed to be the one making the food, so she enrolled in the South African Chefs Academy in Cape Town.
Jordan was immersed in food all day every day. On top of culinary school, she worked for a bakery at a local market and worked as a student chef at a luxury hotel. She also trained under one of Italy’s Top Chefs at his home Chef’s Table. Jordan always loved food, but this new chapter that originally started as a need in order to keep up with her lifestyle turned into a passion. Who knew she would end up using her college degree, I mean, after all, food IS art. After a year of delicious training and a well-deserved diploma, she made her way home in December of 2018 for Christmas, then immediately took off for her first job in her tall chef’s hat.
As a new sous/crew chef, she spent the next year on the yacht cooking her way through Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, and New Zealand. She could not believe she was being paid to cook cool foods she had never even heard of for 16 crewmen every day and having the time of her life. She would gather fresh produce from the island markets and was even able to visit the farms where the items originated to pick them herself. Along the way, she discovered she has a real palate. She has the gift of tasting a meal before ever actually eating it. She can think up a specific flavor, imagine all of the ingredients to master it, and then taste in the kitchen what she originally tasted in her brain – a very neat connection to make.
Jordan’s mom visited her on her last stop in New Zealand and they discussed how everyone was doing back home. Once her mom returned to the states, Jordan began to feel like she was missing out on quality time with her loved ones. With family meaning so much to her, she could not fathom the idea of being abroad any longer because she truly felt she should be at home spending time with her family instead. Here she was, living with Type 1 Diabetes and told she would never do any of the exotic things she ended up showing the world she could. All in all, she has traveled to 38 countries, jumped out of numerous planes, scuba dived all over, swam with bull sharks (with no cage), bungee jumped in 2 of the highest places in the world, and so many other rad experiences – y’all need to see this lady’s bucket list. She decided to put her travels on pause knowing she can always travel again and made her way back in December of 2019 to the Grand Strand.
When Jordan visited home, she always attended yoga classes at Living Yoga and Wellness. The owner informed her about a YTT 200 Hour yoga training they were hosting and of course, she signed up (go take her class – you will not regret it). During her weeks of training to become certified, she cooked and fed all of the other yogis. They raved over her cuisine and it sparked yet again a new adventure. For two weeks, she took orders, meal prepped, and delivered her special packages. Then the pandemic happened, and her new idea came to a halt. Over the summer she was fortunate to be able to work as the general manager at Wild, Water, and Wheels, which her parents own. She is not an office gal and needs her creativity, so even though she loves the family business, she knew it was not her forever career.
All summer long, she thought about those two weeks of experience and she dreamt up her business plan in order to bring “Lekker Eats” to life. In September, the day the summer season ended, she officially started her new adventure. Jordan was held to such a high standard for so long out at sea that she now carries those same standards throughout her life and her new business. She has created her own new adventure based on her past adventures. Jordan explains, “It lights a fire under me! I was so worried about coming home and losing my adventure, but with Lekker Eats, because it is so influenced by lekker (lack-ah), it is my taste of adventure. Everything I have seen, done, and tasted, has brought me to Lekker Eats, and is my way of giving out just a snippet of what I have learned.”
Lekker Eats is not just about food. It is a lifestyle and a way Jordan can express herself and her creativity, which is so important to her. Jordan’s business promotes that it IS possible to truly live, regardless of diabetes and regardless of life’s ups and downs. This year, the world has been dark for so many, and Jordan hopes to be that “little glimmer of light located in your fridge.” Her new venture makes her feel the proudest she has ever been of herself, and rightfully so. To be able to give love to people’s homes is so special to her. Jordan ended our conversation with, “Good food, great company, beautiful views – isn’t that what life is all about?” Jordan can always find the sweetness in everything. She is excited to grow with the business and see where this next adventure takes her in life, but we are all aware that no matter what the next chapter is for Jordan, it will most definitely be lekker.
“Every day that I walk into work, I am like a cowboy on a bull at a rodeo. Every day is a new adventure for me in this kitchen. If I could hug Lekker Eats, I would hug it so tight and never let go.” -Jordan
For more information or to place an order, please visit www.lekkereats.com