Bruce Brennan - Host
The Hippy Gourmet TV show
to becoming the host of his own public television cooking show,
Bruce Brennan co-hosted The Herb’n Inn Bed and Breakfast
in the heart of the Haight-Ashbury of San Francisco, in a Victorian
home that he and his sister lovingly restored in the late 1980’s.
roots in the culinary arts go back to the 1960’s, growing
up in New York on Long Island and coming of age as a flower-child
during the colorful Hippie heyday. Bruce became a devotee to Euell
Gibbons, the world famous author and naturalist, after reading
his book “Stalking the Wild Asparagus.” Thereafter,
Bruce prepared natural foods while cooking for his family and
the Vietnam War raged on, Bruce did his part to help his eldest
brother’s friends from being drafted, working with his mother
Peg and his sister Pam to assist these young men across the border
as a teenager, Bruce was actively involved in the anti-war protest
movement. His mother provided the necessary absentee notices so
he could attend marches and non-violent demonstrations. Although
Bruce marched for peace, he quickly found himself caught up in
a whirlwind of police brutality and some media attention that
ultimately got him expelled from public school in New York for
and his sister Pam did what many socially responsible individuals
in their teens and early 20’s did during that time, they
picked up and moved to San Francisco, California! Finding their
way into the heart of the Haight-Ashbury Bruce quickly found himself
cooking for literally hundreds of people a day, ‘serving
his country’ by his preferred method of feeding hungry hippies
as they danced and twirled up to his soup pots.
continue and complete his high school education, Bruce attended
Pacific High School, located in the second most popular Hippie
location in the world, the pristine redwoods of Santa Cruz, California.
It was here that Bruce learned about R. Buckminster Fuller, a
futurist architect who invented the Geodesic dome (among other
inventions). ‘Bucky,’ as he was referred to, wrote
extensively about ‘space ship earth,’ with the notion
that humanity should redraw the globe without borders and build
societies based on natural resources, such that everyone could
be fed, housed and live peacefully in balance with the universe.
was so inspired by Buckminster Fuller that he and his classmates
at Pacific High set out to build working Geodesic domes on the
school grounds, and dedicated their educational experience to
spread the word about Bucky’s earth-positive philosophies.
participated both in Woodstock and Altamont concerts preparing
food for wayward travelers, while hitchhiking his way around the
country and cooking for rides and tickets to shows. During this
time Bruce continued his own personal path toward learning about
sustainable agriculture and wild food sources, bringing people
together to cook meals and show them the benefits of living off
the land and discovering ingredients foraging through the forests
of Northern California.
high school, Bruce returned to New York where he began to work
professionally in restaurants, working his way up from a dishwasher,
prep chef and sous chef, and ultimately became a line chef at
the IBM headquarters on Long Island, where he cooked for the upper
management and executives in their private cafeteria and catered
all of their events. He was the youngest head chef in history
to take this position. All of the surrealism aside, Bruce felt
like he was inside the belly of the beast, learning how corporate
America feeds itself on prime rib, potatoes and martinis.
Bruce became Head Chef at the Brasserie St. Germain, a French
restaurant, where he honed the art of classic French cuisine.
as the war continued in Vietnam, Bruce’s conscience got
the best of him- with the corporate system that extracts taxes
to pay for illegal and immoral wars around the world.
So in 1972, Bruce bought some property with a friend up in Nova
Scotia, Canada and set out to build his own ‘Bucky’
Fuller dome. It was here in Nova Scotia, on the rolling hills
of northeastern Canada, that Bruce would have the epiphany of
his life. Living in a sustainable home, built with his own hands
from recycled materials, eating off the land and surviving the
harsh winters alone, Bruce communed with creatures of all kinds
(including some extraterrestrials).
experience brought Bruce in touch with his own connection to the
universe, to the cycle of life and to the simplest, purest thoughts
the war ended in 1974, Bruce decided to move back to California
to settle in Los Angeles where he began cooking again as a professional
chef. Working in and around southern California, Bruce was exposed
to the music and film industry and began catering to backstage
and location events up and down the coast.
for everyone from Stevie Nicks, to Francis Ford Coppola and even
Ronald Reagan, Bruce became adept at catering large scale events,
knowing just how to please every palate and taste. Perhaps it
was this period that most shaped Bruce’s aesthetic for presentation,
as he began to discover the Asian techniques for garnishing plates
1988, Bruce'ss sister Pam, who lived in San Francisco since
1973 located an ideal property from which she could realize her
vision to establish a bed and breakfast and host an internationally
revolving family. Cosmically, it happened to be a half a block
from the famed intersection of Haight-Ashbury. Pam proposed that
their Dad sell the family home, move to San Francisco and buy
a fixer-upper Victorian in the Haight.
father agreed that he would pay half the purchase price with the
sale proceeds from their Long Island family home and Pam would
pay the other half by assuming a mortgage, then running the bed
and breakfast once she got it approved through the City Planning
It was soon apparent that Bruce's culinary expertise, familiarity
with commercial kitchens and love of herb and vegetable gardening
had a definite place at The Herb'n Inn. Bruce helped with the
renovations and was soon co-hosting at the inn.
Bruce taught Pam many of his culinary secrets and together they
served delicious breakfasts to guests from around the world.
The business flourished and word about the "cool and cozy
little inn in the heart of the Haight" spread internationally.
and Pam realized that their collective bi-coastal 1960's history
yielded a substantial collection of historic documents, posters
and memorabilia - a perfect addition to their somewhat hippie-centric
B&B, and thus the ‘Psychedelic History Museum' was born.
museum nicely complemented a neighborhood walking tour established
by Rachel Heller. Rachel recognized Bruce's enthusiasm for and
expertise on the era and how appropriate he'd be as a guide. Soon
thereafter she urged Pam to buy the "Flower Power Walking
Tour" so Bruce, and ultimately Pam, could continue as its
Psychedelic History Museum is open only in conjunction with the
walking tour which is offered each Saturday and Tuesday morning,
or upon request for groups of four or more. The tour is approximately
40% general neighborhood history and architecture and 60% beat,
rock'n roll, commune and counter culture history.
2001, The Herb’n Inn shifted from accommodating short-term
B&B guests to monthly guests thereby attracting mostly medical
students and other professionals instead of tourists. This decision
enabled both Bruce and Pam to pursue other interests and devise
a new use for their suddenly underutilized kitchen.
Hippy Gourmet television series, produced, directed and edited
by James Ehrlich was born. Bruce was the perfect culinary TV show
host and The Herb'n Inn kitchen the perfect set. Pam was able
to cultivate her interest in digital video editing as James' prolific
shooting provided ample material with literally hundreds of culinary
delights lovingly prepared by Bruce, The Hippy Gourmet.
small at first, reaching out to public access cable TV stations
in San Francisco and Marin County California, The Hippy Gourmet
quickly caught on and became a cult hit. Thereafter public access
stations around the country were asking for episodes to air on
their channels and in 2004 the Hippy Gourmet began broadcasting
on PBS nationally.
over 6,000,000 homes a week in over 110 PBS stations and 54 public
access cable channels, as well as globally being broadcast via
Google video, The Hippy Gourmet and Bruce Brennan have become
popular around the world.
Hippy Gourmet TV show has traveled the globe, from the Rain Forests
of the Amazon in Brazil, to Tuscany and Sardinia in Italy, Amsterdam
in Holland and with extensive travel plans to come.
the philosophies of Euell Gibbons, R. Buckminster Fuller and Alice
Waters, among others, Bruce Brennan connects millions of viewers
each week with his own blend of positive messages of proactive
love for the planet and each other, wrapped up in several easy-to-learn
warmth and mellow tone have been featured on CBS Evening Magazine,
NPR Talk of the Nation, Sunrise Australia, San Francisco Examiner,
Bay Guardian & More.