Sea of Change | De-colonizing Latinx Food with Todo Verde

Sea of Change | De-colonizing Latinx Food with Todo Verde


– From as long as I can remember, there’s always been like a food trend and people follow it, and then it’s gone. But we’re really at a crossroads right now where people are seeing plant-based food as a possible solution
to some of the issues that we’re seeing both in our health and the health of our planet. Todo Verde, it’s just
creating more opportunities for people to look at
plant-based food as an option that just feels like
naturally good and craveable. And we focused on making
culturally relevant Mexican plant-based food. The food that I look to for inspiration is definitely decolonized food. It’s the way that we ate as
people before we were colonized, which was mostly plant-based. (rhythmic instrumental music) My name’s Jocelyn Ramirez and I’m the chef and
founder of Todo Verde, which is a plant-based catering company based here in Los Angeles, California. And today, I’m gonna be making
a plant-based quesadilla topped with a little bit of vegan chorizo, salsa de tomatillo, and guacamole. (nuts hitting blender) I’m gonna start making this cheese so it has some time to chill
while I’m making the chorizo. (blender whirring) I started Todo Verde back in 2015 because I wanted to make food that still felt good for my family. We were dealing with a
lot of health issues. Everything from like cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol. And I knew that I wanted to switch to more of a plant-based diet for myself and be able to share that with my family. (rhythmic instrumental music) I’m gonna add all the toasted
chiles for the chorizo. Ooh, those chiles got me. (coughs) Oh my god! (coughs) Whenever you’re making chorizo, people typically use
like a pork or a beef, and I love using mushrooms
because obviously mushrooms tend to have lot of flavor on their own and create a little bit of umami. And the tempeh is a little
bit of that as well. (rhythmic instrumental music) When I started really looking at this plant-based
journey a bit more closely, and I started driving across the city looking for these ingredients, I realized how difficult it is to locate these healthy
ingredients in our neighborhoods, especially low-income
communities of color. And I knew that I wanted to create something that was for us, for the Latinx, Latino
community in Los Angeles, and that it was something that when you look to the
food that we’re eating, you can identify with it. You understand what it is. You feel like you already
know what it tastes like. (rhythmic instrumental music) The tacos that I’m making with Todo Verde are roasted oyster mushrooms
with a mole almendrado, or tacos de jamaica, tacos de chorizo. My mom is from Zacatecas, Mexico, and I’m really taking a
lot of what I’ve learned from the recipes growing up, and I want that to still
remain like the thread that weaves through food that
I feel is pretty special. For example, like, we use chia seeds in all of our agua fresca. We’re using maple syrup
to sweeten everything. We use things like cacao to
make desserts and smoothies, maca powder, which is from Peru. So all these, like, super foods that people were using for generations for different health
benefits are now something that we wanna incorporate
in every dish that we make. (rhythmic instrumental music) When we first started Todo Verde, we started at local farmers’
markets across Los Angeles, and then we were approached by the person who curates Smorgasburg, which is a weekly event, happens every Sunday in Los Angeles. So it’s like all these
up and coming chefs, all these up and coming food businesses. And so it’s like just been
this really, really great space to explore food a bit more for us. (rhythmic instrumental music) I’m really focusing on us
opening up our first restaurant, which hopefully will be opening this year, and also to launch my cookbook, which is coming out Spring 2020. And then trying to open up more locations, mostly across the east
side of Los Angeles, so that we create these
health and wellness hubs where people can not only come in and get food that’s
more accessible to them, but also to be able to
attempt food demonstrations, skill shares, classes that
teach them a little bit more about a plant-based lifestyle.

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