By Daniela Degrassi
What’s best than to follow our dreams? We may lead successful lives, yet sometime we reach a point when that secret dream we keep fantasizing about may push us to revolutionize our lives. When we’re brave enough to put our wildest dreams into action, we may create something so rewarding we’ll bless the day we finally found the courage to change our lives.
This is what happened to Hope Bailey, Joyce Malicse and Melissa Carter, founders of Los Angeles based vegan catering company Pink Salt Cuisine. These three passionate ladies found a perfect synergy combining their talent and sharing the same dream. They told me all about it when I met them at Two Guns coffee shop in El Segundo, California, over green tea and vegan snacks.
Joyce, Melissa and Daniela at Two Guns Coffee Shop
What lead you to veganism?
Hope: I’ve always been a huge animal lover and grew up in a vegetarian, ecologically responsible household. Becoming vegan was a natural life progression. It is better for the animals, the environment and your body.
What inspired you to start Pink Salt Cuisine?
Hope: I was always bothered by having to cook meat, but as a chef I felt that I didn’t have a choice. I got to a point where I had to make a change. The deeper I got into vegan cuisine, the more I realized that a vegan catering company was viable, especially in LA. I want the world to understand that plant based cuisine can be utterly delicious and satisfying.
Seared trumpet mushroom with sweet potato gratin and roasted tomatoes
Tell me about your all-female team…
Melissa: We are a small but mighty force that brings out the best in each other. We met a few years ago when we worked on a huge event together and stayed in contact. We would come together for advice and to collaborate on other projects after we met. Each of our individual talents together has created this amazing woman-owned company where we connecting to our community and offering healthy options for the event world.
Joyce: One thing I love about our team is the amount of respect we have each other. Even before Pink Salt Cuisine started, we’ve always treated each other with a tremendous amount of respect, which is also reflected in the way we treat our clients, vendors, staff…even our ingredients. It’s really magical what we’ve created together.
Joyce, Hope and Melissa at MPI Southern California Chapter’s summer event at Santa Monica Pier
What culture influences more your cuisine?
Hope: As a kid we always had a big garden. I loved going out and picking dinner, so I’ve always been into the farm to table philosophy. My grandparents were from Alabama. As a vegan, I’m enjoying reimagining all of the soulful, comfort foods that my grandmother made. She and I spent a lot of time canning produce from her garden. I have turned that experience into lacto fermenting everything I can get my hands on.
California hosts a wide range of cultures. Do you offer different types of cuisines?
Hope: Yes! I love to travel. I’m always looking for exotic new flavors to incorporate into my food. Indian is my favorite. I’m currently obsessed with West African cuisine.
Joyce: Our global menus are pretty spectacular. We’re really lucky to have so many types of cuisine available to us in southern California, so it’s very easy to be inspired by new flavors.
Chickpea frittata with zucchini, corn and salsa verde
How does your wedding consultation work?
Joyce: As a full service catering and production company, we are able to offer our clients so much more than just delicious food. Our team has over 30 years of combined event production experience and can work with couples who need as much or as little assistance as possible. We also have a team of trusted event partners with whom we work to provide everything from invitations and décor to entertainment and transportation.
Do you offer desserts too?
Melissa: Absolutely! We can create elegant plated desserts as well as imaginative dessert stations.
What are the advice you can give to vegan couples when planning a whole vegan menu?
Joyce: I love that couples are incorporating full vegan menus into their wedding day. Guests who aren’t vegan won’t miss eating meat at all, especially when familiar flavors are showcased.
Melissa: We encourage our vegan clients to choose their favorite flavors and dishes to share with their closest friends and family on their special day. We have a robust global menu that will compliment the palette of any vegan or non-vegan guests. We love to blow people’s minds with what we do with plant-based ingredients. Who doesn’t love a culinary adventure?
Braised fennel, roasted chickpeas, wilted spinach and coconut curry
What’s the ideal timeline for couples to book their catering?
Joyce: Depending on the time of year (and especially during peak wedding season), we recommend booking your caterer shortly after securing the reception venue. You don’t want to wait until the last minute and risk not being able to secure your ideal caterer.
What’s the best compliment you received from a non vegan wedding guest?
Hope: A guest who tried our hearts of palm “crab” cake told us it was the best crab cake she’d ever had, not realizing it was vegan. She was from Maryland and knew her crab cakes, so it was definitely a huge compliment for us.
Melissa: The best compliment is when a non-vegan guest is amazed that what they are eating does not have any animal products in it. This happens at every single event and I never get tired of seeing guests faces when they try something super delicious that they never could have expected.
The ladies of Pink Salt Cuisine are no strangers to The Kind Bride blog. Besides being one of our preferred vendors in the California Vegan Wedding Vendors Directory page we had the pleasure to host one of Joyce Malicse’s articles a few months ago: “Five Tips For Selecting The Right Caterer For Your Event“.
A feminist and independent spirit since she could remember (her childhood heroines were Pippi Longstockings and Katharine Hepburn) Daniela Degrassi found her creative outlet as a lifestyle photographer, working mainly in Northern California where she lived for 15 years before moving back to her native Italy to continue to be her autistic sister’s primary caregiver. Vegan since 2014, she found a perfect way to carry her message of compassion while celebrating her love for the wedding industry launching The Kind Bride in February 2018.