South Central Los Angeles and vegan food seem to go together like a peanut butter and pickle sandwich—unexpected but surprisingly good. Wo’se’s Veggie Gourmet is an all-vegan catering business that brings healthy, plant-based fare to Leimert Park. Wo’se Kofi is unique, his catering business brings wholesome food to one of the region’s food deserts. Loosely defined, a food desert is an area where residents lack access to grocery stores that carry healthy, affordable food. Although many food deserts are populated by fast food restaurants and convenience stores, fresh produce and staple ingredients are difficult to obtain. People in these areas generally suffer from a lack of nutrition rather than a lack of calories.
In addition to promoting a plant-based menu, Wo’se is also a community advocate and emcee. He played an instrumental role in establishing the Leimert Park Art Walk, a free monthly cultural showcase hosted by local businesses and artists. Wo’se serves as the event’s Artistic Director. His food business promotes wholesome food while helping to address the issue of food deserts in South Central Los Angeles. Wo’se builds a sense of community and raises awareness about healthful living through his cuisine.
After switching to a vegan diet in 2009, Wo’se started encouraging others to try plant-based fare. He offers daily specials as well as standard menu items, such as Vegan Chili and Veggie Wraps. Wo’se’s menu can best be described as an eclectic take on comfort food, including everything from BBQ Tofu (on a stick) to Organic Vegan Spaghetti and Vegan Peach Cobbler. Aside from serving wholesome food, Wo’se plans to host cooking classes and film a web series about community health. In the future, he hopes to start a monthly program to provide meals to the homeless in Leimert Park.
Wo’se’s Veggie Gourmet is hosting its first vegan pop-up restaurant in Leimert Park on Saturday, March 29th. This venture, funded by donations, represents a collaboration with @ecothink. This all-night pop-up restaurant, called BabasPot, will be hosted by the Ethiopian Resource Center. Tickets cost $15 each, or $20 per couple, and provide access to Wo’se’s informational cooking demonstration and group discussion. Sample Wo’se’s vegan cuisine while learning about plant-based alternatives and helping to promote healthy eating in the Leimert Park community. Try the vegan carrot cake—wholesome food with a positive impact—nothing could be sweeter.