The Vegan Hood Chefs Want to Change Food Inequalities One Plate at a Time
How does vegan “crab” Rangoon made with hearts of palm served with a sweet chili dipping sauce sound to you? How about a vegan platter with “chicken,” “calamari,” Cajun fries, watermelon soursop lemonade and more? Sautéed Lions Mane mushroom roll with red onions, celery, old bay, Cajun spices, fresh lemon, and parsley? We’ll take a double order on all of the above, please and thank you.
All of that and more tantalizing fare comes courtesy of San Francisco and Bay Area pop-up and catering operation, The Vegan Hood Chefs. When they’re not feeding hungry customers or catering epic parties (and a pandemic isn’t raging), the Vegan Hood Chefs team offers education and cooking classes, too. For now, you can also order food for delivery in the San Francisco area for Sundays; learn more by subscribing to the mailing list here.
The company was founded by two best friends, Ronnishia Johnson and Rheema Calloway, who were inspired to transform soul food and beloved American-style dishes in the Black community into satisfying vegan meals. Knowing that Black people were at high risk of diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure, and plagued by the obesity epidemic, the pals wanted to do something to give their communities better access to nutritious food—a known pathway to keeping these devastating diseases at bay.
“It wasn’t until we started to look at food from a social justice lens that we learned that the food choices and health issues of our community were directly linked to the lack of access and education,” Johnson told VegNews in a recent article profiling The Vegan Hood Chefs. “As we started to change our diets we saw the impact on our family and communities. We learned that most fast-food companies target particularly low-income Black and Brown people. Our goal was to create a food business that would also target Black and Brown people with healthier alternatives and language that was uplifting and reflective of our culture to thrive.”