Cultured Guru is bringing probiotic health and education to the people of Baton Rouge, and doing it deliciously.
Microbiologist Kaitlynn Fenley and photographer and marketer Jon Chachere used their individual skills to create Cultured Guru, a probiotic food brand built on promoting the benefits of living foods. What began as a passion project evolved into a full-time job. Now Cultured Guru products are being sold in over 30 locations.
Fenley and Chachere began their foray into the business world after graduating from LSU. The pair lacked the fulfillment they needed from their 9-to-5 jobs, so they decided to start a blog.
“When we graduated from LSU, we wanted an outlet for our passions because we weren’t exactly finding that in our day jobs,” Fenley said. “He wanted to do something with photography, and I wanted to do something with microbiology and the natural world.”
Fenley used her scientific knowledge to write about everything from how to make sauerkraut to why the Great Salt Lake turns pink. Chachere used his media and business strategy education and love for photography to provide the visuals.
The original purpose of the blog was to educate the public about microbiology, especially in terms of diet. To many, the idea of “living foods” is intimidating, but behind the initial shock there are a whole host of health benefits. They both focused on breaking down that stigma— Fenley through scientific evidence, and Chachere through images.
“It’s kind of like he was showing people a macro version of a microscopic world,” Fenley said.
The pair began teaching classes and sharing recipes about how to ferment vegetables, and after some serious glowing reviews they decided to start bottling their creations. Fenley returned home from school one day and threw the idea out. Chachere immediately agreed.
“I had always dreamed of working for myself and doing my own thing so I was literally looking for any excuse to jump in and start a start-up,” Chachere said, “So [Fenley] came home and it was just like music to my ears.”
The partners now work together to run every step of the process, from sourcing local vegetables to hand-delivering their products to stores. They even developed their own methods of fermentation— which are top secret, of course.
Currently, the pair produce kimchi, sauerkraut and pickles year-round, as well as limited edition products. Up next is their Bonfire Sauerkraut, a wintry mix of Cajun spices and smoked onions inspired by the Christmas bonfires of Fenley’s hometown in St. James Parish.
To grab a jar, head to Southside Produce, Karma Collective, Tessier Gourmet or one of the six southern Louisiana Whole Foods Markets. Orders can also be placed online, and limited edition products can even be pre-ordered to guarantee you’ll catch them before they sell out.
To stay updated on new releases and restocks, follow @cultured.guru on Instagram, and to learn more about the science behind their products and how to make your own, check out their blog at www.cultured.guru.