Detroit Vegan Soul
Detroit Vegan Soul is a newly created meal delivery & catering company that with the help of Hatch Detroit will open a café in one of Detroit’s historic neighborhoods. We want good, healthy food to be accessible to everyone. Our mission is to help people live healthier lives by providing great-tasting, high-quality, nutritious vegan food that appeals to everyone, while at the same time doing our part to support a sustainable earth.
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Our café will provide tasty food, a stimulating atmosphere, and be a resource for people who are looking for:
- Healthy food options for themselves and their families to help them transition to a plant-based diet, or incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets
- Delicious comfort food that’s also nutritious
- Education on how to improve and maintain better health
Detroit Vegan Soul is the first 100 percent plant-based soul food café in Detroit. We (Kirsten Ussery and Erika Boyd) chose vegan soul food because we both have southern roots that exposed us to delicious soul food growing up. While soul food is comforting and nostalgic, and makes us feel good, traditionally it has not been good for us. When we became vegan, we created vegan versions of our favorite dishes and sought to dispel the myth that being vegan and eating a healthy plant-based diet means you have to sacrifice flavor and texture.
At Detroit Vegan Soul, you can enjoy your favorite comfort foods with confidence that the ingredients are fresh, organic, and completely plant-based. Our menu is prepared with organic produce, natural ingredients and sweeteners, all made without additives, preservatives, refined flours, sugars, dairy, eggs or animal by-products.
Co-owner and head chef for Detroit Vegan Soul (D.V.S), she first became interested in cooking at the age of twelve when her mother began teaching her to prepare family recipes. Born and raised on Detroit’s northwest side, her early cooking influences were from her mother, grandmother, and father. From her grandmother, a gifted and talented cook with Georgian roots, well known for her delicious food, Erika learned to prepare soul food dishes. Her father was co- owner and cook at a popular lunchtime café which served comfort food and operated in Downtown Detroit’s Book Tower building for several years. It is these influences and experiences that have helped Erika to refine her skills and become an excellent cook. She’s been able to reinterpret traditional soul food meals into vegan delights.
Co-owner and baker for Detroit Vegan Soul, she is a North Carolina transplant who got her entrepreneur spirit and baking skills from her mother. Her mother operated a textile toe seaming contracting business for many years and is currently owner and operator of Irene’s Classic Breads & Cakes in North Carolina. Kirsten is a graduate of the D:hive BUILD program which is based on a nationally recognized curriculum, constructed especially for Detroit, to support entrepreneurs in the process of turning their ideas for a program, project or business into action. In eight weeks, BUILD participants focus on sustainability, durability, scale and potential replication; hear from community experts on entrepreneurship; and create a business plan in a collaborative environment. She worked in food service businesses in high school and throughout college and operated her own business serving coffee at festivals for a year after moving to Detroit.
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