We had the good fortune of connecting with Alicia Beckford and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Alicia, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?

I bring light to the versatility of health and wellness. It’s insane how much we can do with produce/herbs and other plant-based proteins. Although I am not vegan myself, just yet, I do live and promote a predominately plant-based lifestyle and I stay updated on my “food news.” Through reading, I’ve learned  a lot of our meats and sadly some fruits and vegetables are being infused with chemicals and pesticides more and more every day. Therefore, we are filling our bodies with so many toxins it’s taking a toll on the people in my community’s health which plays a huge part in our mental well-being. Mental illness in the black community is more common beyond our knowledge because it isn’t discussed enough nor are we educated on how your diet may effect your overall mental health. That’s why I’m here to change that by creating unique dishes and beverages that will open the minds and hearts of others to want to live a more plant-based lifestyle without the harsh tastes.

I want to end the cycle of common diseases/disorders that we were convinced are “in our DNA” because that is not true. So of course I have to make my food and beverages enjoyable enough for people to convert. Tradition is what keeps us trapped in those generational curses. Not saying there’s anything wrong with tradition. I just want us to know that we can definitely keep those same recipes in the family, however, use healthier substitutes so we can stay alive a little longer to proudly watch these traditions be passed down to the younger generations. We can definitely change the world one healthy choice at a time.

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?
Former online based tea and organic skin care company, Sips Tea has now evolved into a catering company and restaurant partner. Sips Tea has grown so much since our last chat! Not only am I still creating those ice teas everyone loves, I am now the Head Chef at Attitude Lounge in Beverly Hills. There, I have created an exciting all vegan dinner menu that includes dishes such as vegan BBQ ribs w/ mashed potatoes and greens, vegan crab cakes, spinach and mozzarella ravioli w/ a butternut squash puree, etc.. To toot my own horn, I have one of the best vegan menus in Los Angeles, CA and it’s only going to get better from here. I really make non-vegans say “I can dig this”, I’ve heard it so many times. I give my food the one ingredient a lot of health-food spots are missing: flavor. Yes, there’s some good vegan food out here in LA, but it’s almost unknown to find places where they can make their food taste like “the real thing”, as the omnivores call it. I want people, especially in my community to experience the savory side of beneficial foods.

Sips Tea has so much more in store this year. You will soon see my teas in stores, more delightful vegan meals from Attitude Lounge, and entertainment such as food reviews and virtual cooking classes via Skillr.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There’s tons of things to do in LA to fit the interests of so many people. I would say focus on activities that excite your guest. If they’re open to new experiences, even better. Search some cool activities or events on Groupon or Eventbrite together. Download the Grab’d app for some hidden gems and insta-worthy spots, not even LA natives know of. Better yet, you can come down to The Attitude Lounge and enjoy some cocktails, hookah, burlesque/comedy/poetry and Some really good vegan food.

A few of my favorite things to do in LA are dining at Bacari in Silverlake or Dan Tana’s in West Hollywood; candle making at Stone in Santa Monica, attending seasonal pop-up museums, food truck expos, etc…

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shoutout to Brian Cohen! My business partner and bossman. From the moment we met, our chemistry was impeachable. He believed in me and trusted me enough to run a part of his establishment and for that I will forever be indebted to him. Some days I feel unworthy of the blessing I have received and on those days Brian gives me the reassurance that I am in the right place at the right time with the right people.

Shoutout to Chef Alyssa, Attitude Lounge’s Lunch/Brunch Chef. Our chemistry was amazing at first sight as well. She’s kind of like my culinary twin flame! We share the same ideas, business goals and have the same drive. I just want to thank her for making it easy to co-exist with another great mind with the understanding we can all win together, especially as women of color. I’d also like to shoutout her homemade Cinnamon Toast Crunch and oat milk from scratch! I’m obsessed!!! You guys have to stop by and try her menu.

I would also like to shoutout all of my supporters, including friends and family. Those who have bought a plate, tea, skincare or any herbal packs from Sips Tea or Attitude Lounge are the reason why I’m living my dreams. But my gratitude is not limited to purchases. I am most grateful for those who have poured into me with kind and inspiring words, helped me in or outside of the restaurant, and those who have shared my posts or mentioned my name in spaces full of opportunity. People counting on me to win gives me something extra to live for. And to me that means “more life.”

Website: www.mysipstea.com

Instagram: mothaherb

Other: other instagram: sipsteala

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.