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CHEFCETERA

Pinky Cole of Slutty Vegan

P

inky Cole is single handedly changing the way people think about fast food with her innovative brand Slutty Vegan. She’s created a vegan revolution that’s loved by stars like Snoop Dogg, Taraji P. Henson, Will Smith and Tiffany Haddish (just to name a few). Her Atlanta-based restaurant rose to fame through her hundreds of thousand Instagram followers as a 100% plant-based vegan burger joint that has literally thousands of vegan and non-vegan fans lining up across the country for hours since breaking ground less than a year ago. We caught up with Pinky to talk about her out-of-the-box idea and

how it led her to such a successful restaurant! So tell me a little bit about how you got started? Let’s go back to the beginning… My parents are Jamaican. I grew up in a single parent household. My dad went to prison the day that I was born, and he did almost 20 years. So I grew up with my mom and my four siblings and my mother worked for jobs. So I had no choice but to learn how to be a hustler. So I started having parties when I was about 14 years old, and I was the youngest promoter in Baltimore. When I was about 16, I started

One of Slutty Vegan’s signature vegan burgers

26 • July 2019 • Total Food Service • www.totalfood.com

buying and selling chickens. I ended up going to college in Atlanta. It was my first time away from home and I just wanted to become the woman that I knew that I could be and college pushed me. After graduating, I moved to Los Angeles, California, Slutty Vegan owner Pinky Cole where I wanted to be in front of the camera. A friend who was a telewas back to TV in LA and then back to vision producer thought that I could Atlanta. TV helped me heal. One day succeed as a producer. She was right in Atlanta, I’m sitting in my bedroom and over the next ten years, I quickly and I’m hungry. As a vegan, at 8:00 moved up the ladder from assistant to o’clock you’re not getting that, “You the producer of the “Maury Show,” in know what? I’m ready to do this again. Stamford. I’m ready to come up with a concept From there, I saved enough money that’s going to hook people.” I thought to open up a restaurant in Harlem. about the slutty vegan stock that my That restaurant was called Pink and friends loved and bingo. we had a line out the door. I didn’t So I started coming up with some know anything about the restaurant recipes that would mesh that theme industry. I went to “Google University” and then I started coming up with and learned as much as I could about names. My thought was no restaurant how to operate and run a business, esjust a commissary kitchen that could pecially a restaurant. So then I opened also take advantage of e-commerce. I up a juice bar, which is right down the realized, I needed to “THINK BIG”. street. We were doing fine until I got a call Let’s talk about some of the signature that my restaurant was on fire. It was a menu items. grease fire and, literally like everything We needed to make vegan somethat was in that restaurant and everything cool and sexy to eat after a night thing that I worked for was damaged out drinking with your friends. I’m and it wasn’t salvageable. So I had to helping people reimagine the food walk away from all of that, which was that they already eat. It doesn’t matter very hard for me because all of my if you’re into hot pockets or burgers, life everything that I’ve ever touched I’ve got something for you. So this is turned to gold. Things came full circle, so then it continued on page 90

Profile for Total Food Service

July 2019 - Total Food Service  

From totalfood.com - Total Food Service's July 2019 Digital Issue features an exclusive Q&A Interview with restaurateur & author Stratis Mor...

July 2019 - Total Food Service  

From totalfood.com - Total Food Service's July 2019 Digital Issue features an exclusive Q&A Interview with restaurateur & author Stratis Mor...