Utah is experiencing a food diversification. No longer must we settle for chain restaurants, or the same three cuisines over and over again. With our expanding food scene comes more options for consumers, better quality food, and a large variety of options for those who have specific dietary needs. Pulp Lifestyle Kitchen truly highlights how this expansion is not only benefiting the vegan, vegetarian, and diet-conscious consumers, but entire neighborhoods. Because who doesn’t want affordable, local, from-scratch food?
There’s been a re-veganing. Our podcast serves many purposes, but our biggest priority is to educate and surprise Utahns with our growing and diverse food scene. And nowhere is that more apparent than this episode where we not only surprise you with the bountiful vegan and vegetarian options in our community, but also surprise you with super special guest host, Amanda Rock!
In early 2015 Ally Curzon and her mom Jessica Curzon were driving through Salt Lake City when they were hit with a craving: they wanted a doughnut. While Utah has some fine doughnut options, none would work for the Curzon family because they are vegan -- and vegan doughnuts can be hard to come by.
It was then that a craving turned into a business idea. Ally and her mom drove home to share their new idea with Ally's 15-year-old sister, Leah, but were met with skepticism. Leah had seen her mom's last food project, a small chocolate truffle business, start with high hopes... but never get off the ground. So Leah Curzon issued her mom a challenge: "Mom, this can't be one of those things you don't follow through on."
So Jessica hit the kitchen with her daughters, working toward a perfect vegan doughnut. And when they felt they had the recipe dialed in, they rented a booth at a local farmer's market in town. They were received well, which led their doughnuts into Sugar House Coffee and a few other local coffee shops in town. With momentum, lots of passion, some newfound fans from their Farmer's Market presence, and their unique vegan doughnuts, Jessica Curzon put a new commercial kitchen on a credit card and went all in, rising to meet her daughter's challenge.
Today we're joined by Jessica Curzon, her 15-year-old daughter Leah Curzon, and Jessica's boyfriend and business partner Zak Farrington, to talk about their journey starting an all-vegan doughnut shop and their upcoming new location at 171 E Broadway in downtown Salt Lake City, where they'll open in just a few weeks.
Omar Abou-Ismail doesn't have your typical restaurant owner story. Originally born in Lebanon, Omar and his family traveled and lived throughout West Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, and the Middle East, and eventually settled in Utah. After studying geophysics and mechanical engineering at the University of Utah, he began working with the U.S. Navy as a geophysicist. And then, in 2005, he opened Rawtopia. You could say it was a bit of a leap in career.
What started as a curiosity about the raw food movement became a passion, and his love for sustainability and care for the earth only fueled the flames. After he switched to a raw food diet, Omar began to feel more healthy, happy, and energetic. This new-found life style change felt akin to a spiritual awakening, and Omar wanted to share this feeling with the Salt Lake City community.
Rawtopia opened in Sugar House in 2005, and has become a staple in Salt Lake. Along with providing high-quality, healthy food, it also serves as an educational resource for people who are unfamiliar with what the raw food diet entails. Overcoming adversity, trials, and tribulations, Rawtopia has also celebrated many victories.
Join us as we sit down with Omar Abou-Ismail, and dive into his fascinating story, and all the lessons and changes that led to the creation of Rawtopia. We also learn what it means to eat raw food, and how the physical, mental, and sometimes spiritual benefits of a healthy and raw diet.
Vertical Diner and Sage’s Cafe are two leading restaurants in Utah that promote plant-based foods on their menu, with large offerings of exclusively vegetarian and vegan dishes. Today, vegan and vegetarian menu options aren't uncommon -- but 17 years ago, in 1998, it was rare... and the thought of opening a vegetarian-only restaurant in Salt Lake City seemed impossible.
It was then that Ian Brandt, owner of Vertical Diner and Sage's Cafe, set out to popularize a non-meat diet (beyond tasteless leafy salads!) and provide better dining options for vegetarians and vegans in Salt Lake City. Brandt started with a small vegetarian, gluten-free food truck --thought to be the state's second-ever food truck to hit the streets-- and peddled his approachable vegetarian food at music venues and popular business locations.
After encouragement from loyal customers, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian alike, Ian Brandt opened his first permanent location. In the late 1990's, and named after Ian's firstborn son, Sage's Cafe was born.
Now today, 17 years later, Brandt runs two successful vegetarian restaurants in Salt Lake City at the center of a significant movement in the veganism movement. Tune in to today's interview with Vertical Diner and Sage's Cafe owner and chef, Ian Brandt, as we discuss why people choose a vegetarian and vegan diet, and talk about the horrors of modern day factory farming and animal cruelty. Join us.
2280 South West Temple, SLC
234 West 900 South, SLC