This month, we’re shining the spotlight on Seth Bradley, co-founder of Nude Dude Food, a popular Chicago-based private dining company that focuses on local and seasonal ingredientsWe caught up with him at FA Avondale to talk about how climbing ties into his passion for healthy cooking. Follow Seth on Instagram @nudedudefood, and say hi to him next time you seen him around FA!

How did you get started cooking?

I was an incredibly picky eater as a kid. In high school I was the kid asking his mom to make him Pop-Tarts and scrambled eggs (as if I couldn’t make them myself). When I got to college, my palette started changing and I became more open minded and interested in food. Once I started cooking, I couldn’t stop. I became obsessed with food, ingredients and flavors, so I absorbed as much information as I could from cookbooks and the Food Network. Over time I found myself spending more and more time in the kitchen cooking for my roommates and friends, often times 5-6 hours a night, and realized it was time for a career switch.

What inspired the Nude Dude Food concept?

My business partner – my best friend from high school and roommate for the past 8 years – and I wanted to not only promote the idea of eating well with sustainable and honest food, but provide a more intimate, fun and personalized private dining experience.  We customize a five to six course menu for each client in their home, which allows us to become part of the party. We cook, serve, entertain and clean, which surprises most people! It’s a fun, personal way to share a food experience and we leave feeling like friends with each of our clients!

What projects are coming up for Nude Dude Food?

Besides all of our private dinners and events in and around Chicago, we’ve been traveling quite a bit.We were recently in California and Texas and next week we’re back in Los Angeles for a TV appearance and a pop-up dinner in Venice Beach. We’re also involved in a corporate team building event this March where we’ll stay in cabins in the Appalachian Mountains and cook rustic brunches and dinners for our clients, which is awesome!

What’s your favorite quick healthy meal/snack?

I love a quick snack of soft scrambled eggs doused in hot sauce. It’s a great protein boost before or after a workout. We also love to roast or pan fry vegetables. Take almost any vegetable, season it well with salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil, then roast it in the oven or pan fry it until it’s caramelized. It’s an easy and flavorful way to enjoy your vegetables!

How did you start climbing?

I only climbed occasionally until joining First Ascent, then I became obsessed with it. Once it became part of my daily workout regimen, I couldn’t stop. I love the way climbing takes you away from everything; it requires all of your attention while on the wall, which makes it difficult to think about anything else. It’s also an incredibly challenging sport not only physically, but mentally. My whole family lives in the Denver and Morrison Colorado area, so I’ve been doing some outdoor and trad climbing around there when I can. It’s an amazing experience that’s so different from gym climbing.

How is fitness important to your work? 

Considering our brand name, Nude Dude Food, and the fact that most of our clients want us to cook in our “uniform”, shirtless with an apron, fitness is a very big part of our lifestyle, brand and daily routine.It also keeps me sane! I feel more energized mentally and physically after I exercise. 

Any climbing goals for this year?

I just want to improve overall, especially my technique. I’m not naturally flexible, so I’ve been trying to do more yoga and stretching. I’d also love to climb more outdoors and perhaps take a trip with friends I’ve met at the gym.

What was your profession before moving into culinary?

For over ten years I was a professional musician and toured all over the Midwest where I played around 150 shows a year. I’ve always loved to perform and sing, even as a kid I would write songs on a tiny Casio keyboard and make my family watch me perform. I was in choir, drama and glee club throughout high school and college. Being in front of people always felt natural, exciting and inspiring. My passion for performance transferred perfectly into the food business. Cooking and providing a unique experience is a performance itself, so it was a natural progression.

Photos & Interview by Luke Streich. Follow him on Instagram @milo_t_dog.