A Dayton chef said she wants to help people think more deeply about the food they eat through her vegan personal chef business, which has been tapping into the growing popularity of plant-based eating.
Chef Da’Ves Malone, owner of Sprouting Dreams LLC, said she sees the local interest in vegan food in the response to her pop-up dinners, festival appearances, catering services and classes.
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Business has been picking up as vegan awareness and interest has been picking up, she said.
“I think this year my business and other plant-based business in the Dayton area are going to see a boost in their sales because people are becoming more aware of what they put in their body,” Malone said.
Vegan eating has been growing in popularity, as shown by rising sales in dairy alternatives, veggie burgers and other grocery trends.
A 2017 report by Nielsen found plant-based milk sales were up 3.1 percent since the year prior — with cows milk down 5 percent — and plant-based substitutes for meat had grown 6 percent from the year before.
Malone had studied biomedical engineering but changed career paths and moved to New York City in 2012, where she attended Natural Gourmet Institute.
After gaining experience cooking at New York City restaurants, as well as holding cooking classes, tabled events, and pop-up dinners, she returned to Dayton where she’s been growing Sprouting Dreams LLC.
Some of her recent events have included teaching how to cook with seitan, and holding a free lesson on the basics of vegan cooking to a full class at the Dayton Metro Library, drawing out people who want to learn about veganism or want to know how to cook for a vegan family member.
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She’s done collaborations around Dayton, including pop-up dinners at The Barrel House and a well-attended brunch at Ghostlight. She’s taking reservations for a vegan pop-up brunch to be held 11 a.m. Jan. 27 at Third Perk Coffeehouse & Wine Bar in downtown Dayton.
With her work, Malone also gets to provide education about vegan eating and dispel misconceptions. She gets asked how vegans get enough protein in their diet, but said there’s protein in plants and plenty of high-protein vegan options. She also hears concerns that vegan eating will be expensive, but you can keep costs low when you learn the best way to shop.
“They think it’s expensive, but it’s not if you stick to the essentials like beans, nuts, seeds, leafy vegetables, fruits,” Malone said.
Looking forward, Malone said she’d also like to do more community outreach and events and would like to sell healthy prepackaged foods at cafes, coffee shops and juice bars. She said its important to her to find ways to partner and boost other businesses and is always looking for more types of collaboration.
One of her long term goals is to launch a new festival, the Ohio Vegan Food & Booze Festival, as a relaxed and unique event for the area.
With her work, Malone also gets to provide education about vegan eating and dispel misconceptions. She hears concerns that vegan eating will be expensive, but says it’s not if you stick to essentials such as beans, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits. She also gets asked how vegans get enough protein in their diet, but said there’s protein in plants and plenty of high-protein vegan options.
“They think it’s expensive but it’s not, if you stick to the essentials like beans, nuts, seeds, leafy vegetables, fruits. It’s not hard and its not expensive if you shop right,” she said.
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