Pamela is the founder of 7 vegan/kosher restaurants in New York City and 1 NY-based but national dairy-free chocolate shop called Cocoa V. Pamela is a major animal activist and all of her ventures are rooted in the foundation to empower and educate consumers about their consumption choices. Education, knowledge and awareness are key when it comes to becoming a more consciously aware individual.
Pamela’s ventures range from formal sit downs (Blossom Restaurant), to a vegan fast food chain (Blossom Du Jour), to semi-sophisticated comfort food (Urban Vegan Kitchen), to now a vegan chocolate shop (Cocoa V) that ships nationwide.
Fancy: You’ve stated that you received literature in the mail that first prompted you to switch to a vegetarian lifestyle then vegan.
Pamela: As a teenager, I received a pamphlet from an animal sanctuary in the mail that put me on a path of enlightenment. Today I am proud to say that I am the founder of 7 vegan/kosher restaurants in New York City and 1 NY-based but national dairy-free chocolate shop called Cocoa V. All of my ventures are rooted in the foundation to empower and educate consumers about their consumption choices. Education, knowledge and awareness are key when it comes to becoming a more consciously aware individual. I released our first (and one of the only gourmet vegan cookbooks in the market) on April 25, 2017 called The Blossom Cookbook. It’s now been over 20 years that I am vegan!
Fancy: Had you always been an animal lover? Were you also working in the restaurant and hospitality industry at that time as well?
Pamela: I got started in 2005 with my then partner and opened up our first vegan restaurant in Manhattan called ‘Blossom Restaurant’. I had no previous industry experience and I was actually pursuing a career in theatre and opera but my calling to do something for the animals was stronger. I opened my first vegan restaurant in Manhattan in 2005, ‘Blossom Restaurant’; then vegan quick serve chain, ‘Blossom Du Jour’ in 2010, which now has 4 locations; the vegan comfort food haven ‘Urban Vegan Kitchen’ in 2016; and Cocoa V reopened its doors on Valentine’s Day 2017. 🙂
Fancy: You have multiple establishments, but what would you say is your most popular dish?
Pamela: Mmmm, our burger at Urban Vegan Kitchen (and it won the best burger competition last year co-led by Gotham Burger Social Club and Veg News!)
But here is the list:
@ Cocoa V: ‘Yes Please’ Bar / Signature Double Chocolate Cake
@ Urban Vegan Kitchen: UVK Quarter Pounder / Brownie All The Way / Midnight Train To Georgia Cocktail (photos attached)
@ Blossom Du Jour: Egg, Cheese and Bacon muffin on a whole wheat muffin / the Midtown Melt / Betterfinger Shake
@ Blossom Restaurant: Seitan Scallopini / Cashew Cream Ravioli
Fancy: We noticed your “food and drink on the go” concept for the Blossom Du Jour Restaurant and vegan comfort food at Urban Vegan Kitchen. Can you describe that for us?
Pamela: As we know the ever growing need for “alternative fast food” options is on the rise, so I established Blossom Du Jour in 2010. Powered by our delicious and nutritious 100% vegan recipes, we have placed ourselves in the extraordinary position to make a positive impact on the environment as well as the daily lives of our patrons by offering food and beverage choices that are healthful, environmentally conscious, and prepared quickly.
Urban Vegan Kitchen is a super cool concept we’ve developed on Carmine Street, which is laid back, urban and chill. It includes a full bar (menu here) and an inclusive environment for vegans and non vegans to enjoy.
Our mission is as plain and simple as our food, eating should be fun, healthy and hold no negative consequence to the animals we share our world with. Say YES to LIFE!
Fancy: Please tell us a little about latest venture, COCOA V.
Chocolate is one of my passions! Cocoa V is artisanal, 100% dairy free, vegan and certified kosher chocolate, pastry and confection shop that are produced on site at the NYC flagship location in a small but productive kitchen. There will never be the chance of the all too commonly seen text “produced in a facility that also processes dairy and eggs” on any of our labels or information packets. Cocoa V is committed to providing a complete vegan product line from the ingredients to the facility it’s prepared in.
Fancy: Do you have a quick, healthy recipe for busy moms this summer that you could share?
Pamela: Heirloom Tomato Chickpea Curry
Two bags dried organic garbanzo beans
¼ teaspoon mustard seed
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon dried coriander
½ medium onion, diced
2 crushed garlic cloves
3 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
12 tricolor heirloom tomatoes
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
- Leave the chickpeas to soak in water overnight, semi sprouting them. Saute mustard seed, coriander, onion, and garlic in olive oil on a medium flame for a few minutes.
- Once the onions are translucent, add the heirloom tomatoes and let them come to a nice bubble for a good 20 minutes on a low flame, stirring occasionally. Next, add the sugar, turmeric, nutmeg, salt, and chickpeas and ½ cup of warm water.
- Continue to let everything cook down for another 20 minutes, covering the pan so the tomatoes and chickpeas can absorb the spices nicely. The flame should be on low.
- Once the stew is ready, let it sit for 5 to 7 minutes. Serve over perfectly cooked quinoa or whole grain of choice.
Fancy: What tips would you give to those considering a vegan lifestyle?
Pamela: To not be afraid to do something that’s better for your bodies, health, the animals and the environment. Ultimately, it’s better for the world! Vegan food has come a long way and it’s not bland or boring, on the contrary, there are so many yummy and tasteful options these days for people to enjoy. Last but not least, please do not worry about protein. A plant-based diet provides tremendous amounts of protein found in legumes, broccoli, leafy greens, seitan, quinoa, nuts… According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Data Laboratory, one almond contains 0.25 grams of protein. Therefore, eating 10 almonds provides you with about 2.5 grams of protein. One portion, or serving size, of almonds is usually 1 ounce, which is equivalent to about 23 whole almonds, amazing! There are a ton of vegan athletes out there that serve as inspiration: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/these-athletes-went-vegan–and-stayed-strong/2016/11/22/58c2e674-865c-11e6-92c2-14b64f3d453f_story.html?utm_term=.91cc3eabaa17
Pamela Elizabeth’s websites and social media.