James Mitchell Uses Food to Build Community
By Rayna Weddington
James Mitchell became a vegetarian at age 21and has been on a journey of eating good and feeling good for about 40 years now. He considers himself a business entrepreneur (in the restaurant business) and community developer.
Funtimes Magazine had the privilege of interviewing him and even tasting some of his delicious, one of a kind vegan dishes. Here are his responses:
Tell us about your restaurant: I recently shut down my restaurant to make way for new one at 16th and Race St. Look for the grand opening of The Green Orchid Vegan Cuisine this fall, perhaps in October.
I resonant with the color green and work to stay in alignment with nature and living, especially raw foods. I have cooked foods on the menu, but I focus on more foods that are raw.
The Green Orchid Vegan Cuisine is my mothership. I plan to open up a lot of little restaurants called Planet Vegan across the U.S. and internationally. I want to spread the joy of eating healthy around the world. I’m not alone; the world is going crazy for vegan food and lifestyle. This food has allowed me to connect with people around the planet. I plan on traveling very soon. I have associates coming from other countries just to try my food based off photos on Instagram.
PULL OUT "Every aspect of building helps create the village that we need. I use food and nutrition". - James Mitchell.
How do you use food and nutrition to build community? I teach a class called Optimizing Your Health by Cooking Plant Based Foods at Temple University in the Pan-African Studies Community Education Program (PASCEP), which brings all sorts of program to the community for people who can’t afford to go to the University to learn.
This amazing program has been around for almost 20 years. We have a catalog of classes that you can select from. We have some of the best instructors and educators from around the city. PASCEP has college instructors with PhDs who volunteer their time to teach courses such as finances, agriculture, real-estate, health and nutrition, and more, to benefit the community.
I say that every aspect of building helps create the village that we need; I use food and nutrition. Plant-based food is already very nutritional, but I focus on added foods with the highest strength of veggies into each meal. Plus, I want the dish to be tasty.
When did you decide to be a chef? I went to school for business, while I worked as a short order chef at one of the city’s biggest restaurant called Horn & Hardhart, where my grandfather was a chef. I also worked in the family restaurant, but believe it or not, cooking was not in my plans. I sold real estate, and I should be a millionaire by now. People kept telling me I should open a restaurant. In 2010, that is what I did and I never looked back.
How has this diet and lifestyle changed you? I don’t cook if I’m angry, and because of this diet, I’m seldom angry. This diet has me at such a peaceful state. I love the gravitation of people that this food has brought in my direction.
It’s so awesome, I started quoting the song Fantasy by Earth Wind & Fire; “We will find other kind that have been in search of us.”
We are going to gravitate to each other, and that’s what this food has done for me, literally. It has bought me to a group of people that I love to be around, who are always happy, joyful, pleasant and smiling. That’s why they call it Spirit Food.
Go to: Instagram @jamesmitchell5527