Colleen Smiley started Om Cafe in Ferndale in 1985, long before anyone read Michael Pollan’s books. The menu included an array of homegrown fruits, vegetables and grains free of antibiotics, growth hormones and genetic modification. Though she was ready to retire a few years ago, she decided to keep it open on Fridays because she did not want to deprive her regulars.
But a few months ago, Om introduced new hours and new menu items thanks to her son, Thibodeau, who moved back to Michigan after leaving 12 years ago. He took over the business but gives the same attention to food, health and community that his mother did.
Thibodeau said his first mission was to find a great chef. He said he worked closely with the Culinary Institute of Arts in Novi and discovered Johnson. The chef had recently graduated but had experience as a restaurant owner and had earned recognition for his skill preparing Indian cuisine.