We had the good fortune of connecting with Denise Vallejo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Denise, what role has risk played in your life or career?
What part of life isn’t a risk? Every decision opens a new road. I no longer want to think of life happening to me and just the result of decisions I’ve made over the years. What I see now is life unfolding because of the risks I’m willing to take. So many of us play small & fear taking risks. I try to stay rooted in the idea that I’m a co-creator of my reality & no matter what may unfold, I can create opportunities for myself that are beneficial, and I can look at any setbacks as lessons on how to play the game. I’ve made risks of applying a lot of esoteric teachings and ideas to my work. Especially with my zodiac themed supper club. Putting myself out there, labeling myself as a bruja was risky. I could be faced with ridicule, which is very common, or superstition. But over the years now I see the world is catching up. The communities I want to directly impact have all embraced these ideas of what it means to be a witch or mystic. That whole culture is experiencing a renaissance right now. I see more businesses aligning with these concepts and I’m proud now to see that I’ve blazed that trail.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
With my fine dining background, I offer dishes that are beautifully plated using seasonal, local & organic ingredients that highlight ancestral & indigenous foodways. Over the years, as I got deeper into my esoteric studies, I started to incorporate the plant wisdom & teachings I learned from my studies in Curanderismo & Shamanism into my menus. This influenced the types of ingredients I wanted to honor & ultimately changed me forever. My food became a reflection of the empowerment I began to feel as I reconnected to my indigenous heritage. A literal alchemical process unfolds when I’m preparing food. And I get to see how this food also transforms the communities I feed. Through this process, I felt bolder and I went into full “Bruja” mode, which allowed me to create the concept behind Alchemy Organica. I want to create healing foods that are holistically empowering the whole person. Activating our ancestral DNA with indigenous foods, learning traditions of our elders, incorporating esoteric teachings and concepts into our lives via our understanding of food. Food is the master key and literally merges with your DNA, unlocking its potential.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
An ideal day would first start with a visit to the University of Philosophical Research. We would take a Tarot class with Dr. Yolanda Robinson & explore the P.R.S. Library. Afterwards, we could head to Echo Park and grab a couple vegan sandwiches from KG Bakery & enjoy a picnic at the lake. If it’s Friday, we can check out the Farmers Market for ingredients for a home cooked meal later in the week. In the evening, we’d drive out to Float Lab in Westwood for a relaxing isolation tank session to decompress the mind. Finally, dinner at Shojin in Little Tokyo. This place has been my go to for many years. They make organic, macrobiotic Japanese cuisine that is nourishing & never boring. The menus are innovative, inspired & I always feel really good after a meal there. Dining there feels like you’re taking part of a ceremony. I like food that is presented in that way. It’s very intentional. For dessert, Magpies in Silver Lake. The vegan ice cream pies there are insanely good!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’m grateful for friends and colleagues who always remind me of my strengths & ability to meet my goals. My best friend, Genise Castañeda of Plant Food For People for guiding me along the road of entrepreneurship and teaching me the art of selling a vegan taco on the street. My colleague Jocelyn Ramirez of Todo Verde for her wisdom, mentorship, and business sense. My dear friend Kat Von D who co-created with me a really spectacular, luxurious Gothic Valentine’s Day event at her tattoo shop, High Voltage, earlier this year. It was a defining moment in my career and gave me a glimpse into what is possible with my future supper club events.
Other: Visit our online shop to order our weekly meal kits & provisions www.alchemyorganica.square.site
Leslie Rodriguez Moshi Cuevas Andrew Stuart