Dan is the founder of Sacred Taste and the inspiration behind the brand. Some people may not know this, but Dan wasn’t always into Cacao.
His journey to cacao began 10 years ago when he pursued a career as a professional DJ, playing trance music at all the major clubs and festivals in Australia and warming up for some of the top 100 DJ’s in the world.
At the age of 29, Dan was making his mark on the scene, playing alongside trance legends Cosmic Gate, Dash Berlin and Paul Oakenfold just to name a few.
In March 2013, Dan realised his childhood dream, warming up for his favourite act in the world, Above & Beyond, playing the opening set at a sold-out show at Hi-Sense arena in front of 7,500 people in his hometown, Melbourne.
Dan recalls his experience:
“That was the top of the mountain for me, there was no greater high I could chase in that arena. But as I stood there on top of that mountain and savoured the moment of my dream coming true, I also saw the nightmare and devastation that the scene was causing.”
Riddled with drugs and alcohol, Dan realised he was destined for something greater and left the trance scene at the height of his career to pursue a more holistic lifestyle.
And that’s when his journey to Cacao begun.
Announcing his retirement from DJing, Dan entered his Saturn Return and began a process of losing everything. Within 3 months he lost his job, his income, $30,000 the company owed him, the house he was renting, the deposit on a house he was building and even the house itself - he lost everything.
Embracing change, Dan took it as an opportunity to let go of the old and start anew. He sold everything he owned, including his decks, deleted his social media to erase his identity and packed everything into a van and moved to Bondi where he did 3 years sobriety using Cacao as a substitute.
When asked about his experience Dan explains:
“It was the most challenging year of my life. Making the call to let go of an identity and a career that most people would dream of but no longer serves me, to then lose everything within a few months was quite the experience!”
”I went from living my childhood dream, warming up for some of the top 100 DJs in the world, making over $150k a year, to being broke, homeless, eating out of homeless shelters, living out of a van I didn’t own and couldn’t drive because I just lost my license, was $90k in debt, and only had $200 cash to my name.”
“But it was in this process of losing everything that I gained everything. Sometimes you have to let go of who you are to discover who you truly are.”
And Dan was about to discover himself.
As a youngster, Dan never felt like he really fit into the world. He would always question the way society is set up. It seems like society is working against nature, rather than working with nature.
“Why do we have to pay to live on this planet? Why aren’t we growing food on our lawns? Why are our children and elders separated? Why are we working against nature, when nature is everything?” - he questioned the world around him.
“As a youngster I never really understood our modern way of life. We have removed ourselves from nature so much that we aren’t in alignment anymore.” He explains. “As a teenager I used to ask God, why did you put me here on this land in this space and time? Why couldn’t you have birthed me here 500 years ago when we were living in harmony with nature? - I don’t fit in here.” - But God never answered him.
Accepting his fate in this lifetime, Dan decided that if he was to be here on this planet for the next 80 years, he may as well assimilate and choose a career that cultivates more of what he loved most… music.
But after succeeding in his career as a DJ and conquering the world, he felt truly unfulfilled and knew that he was destined to do more. And that’s when God started whispering to him, “You are not here to fit into this world, you are here to fit it out”
And Daniel began to do just that.
Learning quickly that societies path to "success" is not all it’s cracked up to be, Daniel changed direction and made a vow to himself: "If I am going to put so much energy into something, may it be for the betterment of the planet and the people." This is when his path of service began.
In 2015, Daniel started his first business called GrowSPACE. A company that teaches people how to grow their own food using less space and minimal effort. Daniel and his team created food gardens for rooftops, courtyards, balconies, indoor spaces, and communities, bringing nature back into the urban environment where it belongs.
"In nature, flora and fauna follow the river systems. Now concrete jungles take place where trees and animals used to live. We have destroyed our natural environment to create our urban cities, and we are getting sick because of it.”
His first client was the homeless shelter where he regularly ate. Feeling guilty for eating food that less fortunate people should have, Daniel asked himself, "How can I be of service to this place?" He started tending to the garden at the front of the shelter to show his gratitude and contribution.
These actions caught the attention of a manager who informed him that they had just received a grant to build a food garden at the shelter and asked if he was interested in building it. Seeing this is a sign from the universe, Dan took the job, bought the tools and equipment he needed and the homeless shelter became his first client.
Making a small profit, Daniel used this money to register his business and booked a stall at the Bondi Farmers Market. He took his passion for helping people grow and grew his business from $0 to $5k to $10k and before he knew it, Daniel had built a six-figure income business that was benefiting the planet and the people and got invited to build a garden for the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on the front lawn of old Parliament House that won the Community Action and Wellbeing Award and gained the commendation of ex Prime Minister, Bob Hawke.
“I had no money, no job, no house, nothing - but I had two hands and a passion to serve. When I served others, the universe served me. When I took care of others, the universe took care of me. That’s when I learnt the art of service.”
During his years as an urban gardener, Dan took himself through a complete detox. Wanting to reverse the damage of years of alcohol and substance abuse during his DJ career, he opted to go cold turkey and stopped partying and drinking all together.
“Why do we go out?” Dan asks, “To feel connection. But sometimes we may not be too confident in ourselves or who we are and we have our walls up. That’s why we drink alcohol. Alcohol reduces our inhibitions and brings down our walls but also makes us sloppy - and don’t forget the hangover!”
“What I love about Cacao is that it raises your vibration over your walls and over your barriers, and when everyone is collectively raising their vibration with Cacao, we can then experience a much greater sense of connection where all is loved - and the best part is - there’s no comedown!”
When asked where he was first introduced to Cacao, Dan shares: “I was introduced to Cacao at my first sober party in Bondi. There was a party in a backyard with over 200 people and and to be honest, I was a bit nervous until someone handed me a cup. There was a group of people huddled around what looked like a cauldron and I was instantly intrigued. I asked “what is this?” and they told me “Cacao!” “What’s a Cacao?” I asked “It’s nature's most nutrient dense superfoods and releases oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine and endorphins - all the chemicals that make us feel good!”
“After drinking multiple cups, I started to feel it. What was this elixir? With my heart pumping, energy levels rising, my mood elevating, I noticed my walls disappearing. My desire to chat openly starting growing and words starting flowing, it was a whole new experience! I made so many new connections that night, had the best conversations and I felt so good!” Dan said.
It was then that Dan made the connection to Cacao, unaware of its true powers, he worked with it everyday, using it as a substitute for coffee, alcohol, chocolate and even substances. Unknowingly, Daniel had begun a dieta with Cacao, little did he know that Cacao would change his life forever and he would become the founder of a world leading Cacao brand.
After more than a year of living out of his van building a business with urban gardens and drinking Cacao, Dan was confronted by one of his friends who learned the secrets of his past.
"Mate! You’re a big star DJ from Melbourne! What are you doing in Bondi living out of a van, building gardens and drinking Cacao?”
Dan, told him the story of his rise to DJ fame, the people he played for, the festivals he played at and how he achieved his childhood dream.
“Bro! Let’s throw a party and get you DJing!”
Dan explained to him that he retired from DJing and that the very thought of playing again was traumatising for him.
“My friends would come and watch me play, some became addicted to drugs and lost their jobs, their partners and themselves along the way. I didn’t want to be an advocate for that.”
Concerned by Dan's story, but eager to throw a party, Dans mate then suggested:
“Why don't we throw a Cacao party?”
And that's what they did.
Dan taught his mate how to DJ and they collectively threw Cacao parties around Sydney. Despite numerous attempts, Dan's mate couldn't convince him to DJ.
It was when they threw a party in a church in Sydney when his mate was DJing and called him up to decks. He tried to get Dan to DJ but Dan refused. That’s when he said to Dan:
“Bro, I need to go to the bathroom!” He said “Please jump on!” Reluctantly Dan pulled out his keychain with a USB with all his music on it. He plugged it into the decks and for the first time in 2 years Dan was on stage playing.
Not knowing what to expect. Dan started playing his old trance music, taking people on a journey through the soundscapes he had created over the years.
“I didn’t think the crowd would keep up with me, after all how could they? I was playing trance music, and they were on cacao and not on any other substances!"
But to his surprise not only did the crowd keep up… they were loving it, and begged him to keep playing.
We went on a collective journey through trance and cacao. Where the cacao opened our hearts and the trance music elevated our spirits. We felt as one. We felt Connected.
"It was the embodiment of pure ecstasy. We created a high we didn’t have to come down from."
And thats when Sacred was born.