We had the good fortune of connecting with Cindy Rainey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cindy, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
A lot has changed in the world of plant-based food over the years! Now days you can go into almost any grocery store or restaurant and find an abundance of vegan-friendly food options. Perceptions have also changed over time. Back when I first started eating vegan, people would look at me with confusion and sometimes even sympathy – “I’m sorry” was muttered more than once. I think their perception was that I should be a frizzy-haired poncho-wearing crunchy-mamma surviving only on salads and wheatgrass. The truth was, my family was eating better than ever; and not only surviving on my vegan cooking, but thriving! It became a personal challenge for me to bring the tastiest dishes to pot-lucks and work events; and everybody was always very curious about what I had brought to share. Of course I was happy to share my recipes and cooking tips with friends and family. I wanted everyone to know that vegan cooking didn’t have to be boring or tasteless. And people wanted to know what I ate and how I did it; because honestly, the food tasted great and they were pleasantly surprised. It’s when I started gettin the texts and emails asking for this recipe or that, along with questions about how to cook a certain dish or how to substitute a food item to make a dish more vegan-friendly, that I started thinking that yeah, maybe I could do this. Maybe I should just start a plant-based food blog so that I could share my recipes with any and everybody who was looking for a way to make great tasting food. I’m a teacher by nature and profession and so this seemed like the logical step in order to share my love of vegan cooking and teach others how to do feel successful in the kitchen. I was never out to change the world, but just looking to expand my small circle of influence and provide help for those who were looking to make a change – with no boring salads or wheatgrass involved! That’s when I decided to dive head-first into the world of food blogging, having no idea what it involved or how to get started. And while it’s been very fulfilling to watch my recipes and concepts come to life, it hasn’t always been easy. There is so much to learn and do all the time. And best practices to run a successful food blog are constantly changing; it can be challenging to keep up and keep current. That’s why finding mentors and networking with other food bloggers has been so important. There are a great many food bloggers who are making this their full-time job and who are generously willing to reach out and help beginning bloggers. I’m not quite ready to make Veggie Fun Kitchen my full-time job just yet, but it’s getting close. There will come a time soon that I’m not able to move forward until I do. At that point I hope to be able to share my knowledge pay it forward to help a new blogger the way I was helped.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Veggie Fun Kitchen is all about recreating all the delicious foods we knew and loved into vegan-friendly plant-based options. If someone has a dish they are missing from their pre-vegan days, I take is as a personal challenge to recreate a vegan-friendly dish they can share with friends and family.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well we’d be starting out in my hometown so I’d first take my friend to breakfast at my favorite vegan-friendly restaurant in town, The Modern Tea Room, which has a vegan-friendly as well as a non-vegan menu and is my go-to for quick tasty local vegan food, Next we’d head to one of my favorite hiking spots. I’m a bit of a nature girl and would rather be enjoying the outdoors then stuck inside. I think the best hikes that have a Los Angeles flavor are the trails in and around Griffith Park or hiking to the Hollywood sign – that’s just classic L.A! Or perhaps we’d head to the Getty Museum. I always feel like I’m in another world there – a calm oasis of nature and culture in an otherwise busy city. For a late lunch or early dinner we’d hit one of my favorite vegan eating establishments before heading back – maybe The Vegan Joint which has pretty much…everything, or the Honeybee Burger because I am a sucker for an awesome vegan burger. Or perhaps a couple I’ve been wanting to try like Sea Birds Cafe or the Crossroads Kitchen!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
All the experienced food bloggers who have so generously shared their knowledge.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/veggiefunkitchen AND https://www.facebook.com/groups/548337075512186/