Food & DrinkTravel

Good Eats in The Big Easy – Camp Bear Hug in New Orleans

Recently body positivity coach Jon Fischer, aka Coach Cub (, hosted a Camp Bear Hug food tour of New Orleans along with Chef Jonathan Harrison (@chef_jonathanharrison) of Next Level Chef Season 1. They brought 8 guests through a 3 night retreat focused on southern food and New Orleans culture.  

Jon Fischer has been coaching and facilitating classes for nearly 10 years. Whether it’s a food tour or a wellness retreat, his primary focus for these retreats is to create a safe, supportive, and friendly environment where guests can let their guards down.

For this food tour Coach Cub helped the group eat mindfully, in a way that would allow them to enjoy their food more – and be in the moment. He also led group discussions around food and how our relationships with it have been formed. It’s always powerful to hear different perspectives and to also realize we’re not alone in how we feel.

Chef Jonathan, on the other hand, brought his Alamba-style cooking to the group. He led a cooking class where the guests made Shrimp and Grits and his signature bread pudding. He also curated restaurant visits that the group enjoyed throughout the week – including trips to Galatoire and Turkey and the Wolf.

Outside of exploring New Orleans by day and night, and going on a ghost tour, the guests enjoyed a large industrial retreat house with a secluded backyard and pool (which was much needed in the heat and humidity!). On the last night of the retreat, Chef Jonathan grilled chicken and street corn, and a local jazz band played at the house after dinner.

Dan, who attended the tour said:

“Jon Fischer is pro at this now.  He thought of everything and made us all feel so welcome and included all while maintaining a friendly yet professional demeanor. And loved having the general itinerary schedule.  Chef Jon showed wonderful southern hospitality to the group and it was a treat to be able to enjoy his delicious food.  Plus he’s super friendly.  The two of them make a great team, I must say.  Great energy and dynamic.”

Next up for Coach Cub and Chef Jonathan are two Camp Bear Hug retreats in Portugal with their local, Lisbon-based team, Marcelo Viana and Diniz Sanchez. The first one will take place August 17-25 in the Lisbon area (think summer camp and beach), and the second from September 8-15 in the Douro Valley and Porto (wine-themed). Both retreats will incorporate home cooking with traditional Portuguese food, sight-seeing, and workshops that allow for deep friendship and connection.

The next US food tour will be held in Portland and Ogunquit, Maine in summer of 2025 (details to-come).

Whichever retreat you might decide to join, just know that Camp Bear Hug creates a welcoming and inclusive space that makes travel fun and easy for bears and other bigger bodied folks – however all types of queer men with all types of bodies are more than welcome to join in on the fun!

Learn more about Camp Bear Hug here (

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