Fall in love with vegan food at Grassroots Vegan Cuisine
Grassrootz Vegan Cuisine, a plant-based food service with exclusively vegan offerings, has been a very popular food haven in St Lucia.
Owner and chef, 26-year-old Ngugi Lucien of Bela Rosa, Gros-Islet started this business in 2017 while he was in between internships, having returned to Saint Lucia from attending school in Trinidad.
“I was a little frustrated with being idle in the house so I just kind of thought for a while what some of my talents or passions might be and I realized that I really liked cooking and baking.”
Lucien started by baking banana bread on a small scale but when his sister, who is vegan, got pregnant, he took on the role of cooking for her, which further fueled his passion. Since he was still a student at the time, financing was not readily available so his sister provided funding to get him started.
“I asked my sister for a loan and I put out an ad on Facebook and orders just started coming in and we did banana bread for a while and we kind of changed it up, added different toppings and stuff.”
Although his business was doing well from the onset, Lucien worked at Livity for a few months in order to learn new vegan cooking styles and perfect his baking skills.
In 2019, Grassrootz Vegan Cuisine really took off as a fully-fledged business providing vegan meals, deserts, and small catering services.
Grassrootz Vegan Cuisine continues to prove why vegan is not boring. Their food is healthy, delicious, and flavorful. Their menu is versatile with foods such as quinoa, spelt pastas, pies, falafels, vegan sushi, muffins and banana bread to name a few.
I do not like quinoa because I tried cooking it once and well, that was a disaster, but Grassrootz Vegan surely had me thinking twice about it. They just elevated everything I thought quinoa tasted like. They cooked it perfectly, added some black beans, bell peppers and seasoning and oh my God this was just amazing. The flavors were a delightful medley in my mouth. The falafels made me fall in love with vegan food. They were well seasoned, crunchy and dipped in that hummus, heavenly. Oh, and not forgetting the muffin, it was soft, moist and perfectly made. I swear vegan never tasted this good.
“Majority of my customers I know they are not vegan but they don’t mind a few days a week to at least try out or go plant-based or just opt for a healthier option,” Lucien said.
Notwithstanding all the challenges faced, Lucien was most humbled by the opportunity of being part of World Food Day 2019 within his first year of business. Although COVID has somewhat slowed down the business, the young entrepreneur is focused on rebuilding his customer base.
“There were a few challenges but I worked so hard. It’s sometimes difficult to overcome the fear of failure. Go for it. A lot of dreams die just in your mind when you don’t act on it. Remain abreast with everything that’s going on in your industry especially with COVID. Always educate yourself and be receptive to criticism.”
Grassrootz Vegan Cuisine’s meals cost $20 and they currently serve food on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays with free delivery for orders between Cap Estate and Castries. You can find them on Facebook and Instagram @grassrootzvegan758.