When did your journey into veganism begin?
I visited this amazing plant-based café called Café Gratitude in Los Angeles nearly 10 years ago. I was blown away by how tasty their food was; the things they were doing with vegetables were so forward-thinking, using kelp noodles as a base for salads and pad Thai, coconut cream and dates and nuts to make raw deserts – it was groundbreaking.
I fell in love with the concept that plant-based food was tasty and that you were doing something good for your body, your community and the planet.
How To Go Vegan Diet Photo Gallery
What was the biggest influence on your decision to go green?
As I got older, I realised that a predominantly plant-based diet was better for my body, my health and the environment. I went to a lecture at New York University on ocean conservation and they talked about how if we kept fishing our fisheries the same way, they would be empty by 2048. This statistics really resonated with me. Something had to give and making simple food choices seemed to be an easy way to make a significant social impact.
Why did you decide to open The Alley?
I wanted to bring plant-based food to the masses at an affordable price. Vegan restaurants traditionally cater to the alternative types, [so] I wanted to bridge the gap between vegans and everyday consumers who want to be more conscious about their food choices while not sacrificing their love for comfort foods such as burgers and fries. The Alley’s recipes are unique and delicious, uncompromising in flavor and texture.
[It’s] craveable food [that] everyone loves. Where did you get the inspiration for the dishes?
The inspiration for each dish came from my travels abroad and market demand. My love of kelp noodles started with my experience at Café Gratitude. The Alley’s signature Macro Bowl is based on the rules of macrobiotics and was something we always served at The Fat Radish – my first restaurant venture in New York. My Little Brother’s Protein Shake was a smoothie I used to have every morning in New York, minus the almond butter.
The Alley’s Hail to the Kale salad with tempeh was my go-to at another venture I was a part of, [which is called] The Butcher’s Daughter.
What’s your food philosophy?
‘Live healthier, your way.’ Plant-based eating doesn’t mean you have to miss out on taste. The Alley’s flavoursome menu offers beets, eggplants and cucumbers in ways you’ve never seen them before.
What does living a conscious life mean to you?
It means thinking about how your actions impact not only yourself, but also your community and the planet. At The Alley, we are committed to sustainability and eco-friendly practices across the board, from the compostable packaging we use to the reclaimed wood tabletops you’ll find in the restaurant, to sourcing our food from local suppliers. Living a conscious life is not hard and makes you feel better about yourself as well as the world we live in.
What advice would you give to those wanting to make the switch to veganism?
Take it slowly; try the Alley seven-day vegan challenge maybe to start.