34; vegan 7 years; hometown Saginaw, MI
“At the Natural Gourmet Culinary Institute, where I went to school, there is a week they have called ‘Meat Week.’ It’s a whole week based on meat, and if you’re a vegetarian you can opt out of it and there’s no consequences.
"I went to the first day with the other vegans. We weren’t participating, but we were like, ‘Well, we’re gonna go because we’re paying for it.’ We had that American mentality, where if you’re paying for it you need to go. After a few hours I left because it was too much for me. I remember leaving and thinking, ‘What am I doing? What am I going to do with this?’ There was a lightbulb moment where I thought, ‘You know what you’re doing. You’re going to create a resource. You’re going to create something that’s engaging and entertaining and fun.’ It all came from being in a situation I didn’t want to be in and really having to evaluate why I went to culinary school. In that moment, I realized it was so that I could talk to people in restaurants with knowledge and look like I know what I’m talking about.”
Photo by Shelly Waters