Ayinde Howell is a life-long vegan and vegan chef. He got his start in the Seattle and NYC vegan scene. After he catered one of the first mykind Organics photoshoots, I learned what all the hype was about. His Mac & Yease! It’s seriously delicious.. And now if your in SoCal, Las Vegas, Maui, or Oahu you can get your hands on it! They serve it in the hot bar. How cool is that? Congrats Ayinde!!! Go try his Mac & Yease asap!
How long have you been vegan?
I was born vegan from a vegan pregnancy, so for life. Let me just answer your follow up questions, No I’ve NEVER eaten meat ever!
What influenced your mama to be plant-based?
My maternal grandfather passed away very early and my mother’s pregnancy with me had complications that started with a bad diet. She decided that she was going to end that cycle.
Did you notice impacts it immediately had on you? What memories do you have from being a little vegan kid that were lovely and fun? Are there any memories that weren’t so sweet or challenging?
I notice I’m still quite healthy and the kids I grew up are now adults and battling with chronic illnesses and disease.
My best memories of being a vegan kids was eating, my parents made EVERY meal for us and we had. Fresh from the garden! I just remember mealtime being the best parts of the day. The challenging times were anytime we interacted with any other kids or family members around food. They didn’t understand veganism and thought my parents were “crazy” and putting us in danger. Truly they were just horrified that I had never had a piece of fried chicken.
How has your family, friends, and co-workers responded to your diet?
I moved to LA because it’s one of the most vegan friendly cities in the world so it’s easier here than in most places. Everyone has an eye on my protein intake so I feel quite comforted in that.
When your diet comes up in conversation with non-veggie friends, do you have a favored elevator pitch to encourage them to eat more plants? If so, what is it?
Because I’m a chef I usually invite them to break bread with me you know have a meal, and the ceremony of eating is the thing that binds us as friends, family and community. So instead of having a conversation about an idea, I show them – let them taste and smell and the conversation flows.
What is a typical?
Well now I’m on a cleanse but..
Cereal, fruit and a smoothie or yogurt. If it’s the weekend I’ll do tofu scramble and some toaster waffles and fresh fruit.
Tacos, salad, chips
Thai takeout, or a super loaded salad
What are some of your favorite spots to dine at (in whichever city you spend the most time)?
Ayindé Howell is a restaurant trained chef of nearly 20 years and a life long vegan. I Eat Grass (iEG) came to be after children teased him thinking that grass was all he could eat growing up vegan. Chef Ayindé’s Original Mac & Yease gives you a healthier, creamy, full of flavor version of America’s favorite dish.