By Patrick Janka
Central Florida, and Orlando specifically, has an amazing vegan scene. In fact, Wallethub recently ranked Orlando as the #3 best vegan city in the country. However, vegan catering, especially in a wedding context, is a bit lacking. There are indeed some great vegan dessert caterers, but for plated or buffet style meals you have to go with a traditional company that has vegan options. These companies are better equipped to handle large wedding parties that the niche/boutique vegan companies can’t. In comes the heroic Vegetable Butcher to change all that with panache!
I got a chance to interview the owners, Joshua and Tyler, to get a glimpse behind the magic of what they do. These guys were a trip! Enjoy the ride!
Why did you two choose to go vegan?
“Transitioning to a plant-based diet did not happen overnight. After a period of raising awareness towards compassion, we slowly started eliminating animal proteins from our diets. It was by no means easy, but after much consideration we both decided it would be best for the planet, our health and the animals who want nothing more than to live.”
What attracted you to the catering and wedding industries?
“Catering and weddings were actually an expansion of our original services. Having multiple requests for providing this service, we realized that there was a huge lack of high-end, plant-based options, if any! We realize that this day is very special in many ways and why should the food be any less special?”
What separates you from other caterers?
“We think what really separates us is our focus on interaction, education, and our creative approach to ensuring every guest, from the “meat and potatoes” guy to the life long vegan is satisfied with the cuisine. Not only are we the ones preparing the foods, we are also there to explain the science and techniques, while answering any questions guest may have throughout the entirety of the experience.”
Do You have a signature dish or something you love to make?
“One of our favorite dishes that really wows guests is our watermelon “poke bowl.” By combing compressed watermelon, we are able to emulate the look and texture of yellowfin tuna. When combined with avocado and crushed macadamia nuts, the fat content is replaced seamlessly. Finally, fresh aromatics and a ginger soy marinade are added to perfectly cooked sushi rice for a one-of-a-kind experience.”
Tell me about your sustainability efforts and your relationships with local food suppliers.
“Not using animal byproducts is one of the most sustainable practices a chef can apply. We have strong relationships with and recommend local farms including Green Flamingo Organics, Tomazin Farms, and Alvarez Farm. All located within thirty miles of where we operate.”
Have you had any strange or funny reactions from people who didn’t realize your food was vegan?
“We had someone call us liars and even after we explained how we made it they still didn’t believe us!”
Who is your ideal client?
“Anyone with a mouth.”
Describe one of your most memorable weddings and what you loved about it.
“There were two different caterers at one wedding in particular and the bride and groom chose our food to have their photographs with. It was quite an honor.”
What should couples know before booking you for vegan catering?
“We want to provide the menu that you desire. So if you have an idea, even if we’ve never made the dish in particular we will figure out how to bring it to your special day.”
What’s new or on the horizon for the vegetable butcher?
“Currently, we are working towards getting some of our products in some local storefronts. We are constantly taking on new projects so follow The Vegetable Butcher on Facebook and Instagram to stay caught up on what we are doing and where we will be next!”
If you have a wedding or event and want the best vegan catering you absolutely must reach out to these two!
Patrick is the owner and lead filmmaker behind his brand, Luxe Filmography. He was born and raised in Central Florida, but has traveled all over the U.S, Europe, and Asia. He has been a vegan since 2003 and loves checking out fun new vegan restaurants. Some of his favorite foods are TexMex, Vietnamese, Indian, pizza, and açaí bowls. He advocates for animal rights through leafleting, pay-per-view activism, and protests. In his spare time he enjoys playing his many musical instruments and watching shows on Hulu and Netflix. He hopes to leave a positive dent on the planet.