The Evolution of Vegan
An accessible plant-based approach in a meat-first world.
Plant-Based Menu Creation
Create something you can be proud of,something that is unique to your restaurant, something you have the ingredients and skill set to make consistently.
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The Evolution
of Vegan
An accessible plant-based
approach in a meat-first world.
Plant-Based Menu Creation
Create something you can be proud of, something that is unique to your restaurant, something you have the ingredients and skill set to make consistently.
Previous
Next

simplify
&
implement

a plant-forward approach

Restaurants and food service businesses run on a very small margin. There is so much to do to keep moving forward. No wonder most people in the food industry don’t have the time and the energy to research and train on new cuisines and techniques.

I truly believe that the vast majority of chefs are not angry with the customer who comes in and asks for a vegan meal. They are overworked and busy and cannot pivot quickly or efficiently when asked to make something special.

This is where I come in.

Chefs are rightly proud of what they put on the plate. They want to make things that are beautiful, delicious and unique. When asked to make something that is out of their wheelhouse, and without the right ingredients or training, they are going to send something out that they are not proud of. The customer will not be happy either. And so it goes.

XOLO SERVICES

For Businesses & Private Clients

For Restaurants, Caterers, and Food Service Companies

Free ½ hour consultation: I want to make sure that my services fit your needs before either of us commit money or time. We can get together over the phone or on Zoom to chat about your needs and how I may be able to help you.

Menu Consultation: I will analyze the menu, tour the kitchen, storage, refrigeration, freezer, and line space. I will also discuss with you ingredients on hand, style of cooking and cooking equipment, staff skills, and any requirements for allergens. 

Recipe Creation: I can create either a versatile plant-based ingredient that can be used in multiple dishes, single recipe that works with your existing menu like a soup or appetizer, and/or a full plate that would stand alone on your menu such as Tofu Benedict with white-bean and sage sausage and wilted garlic spinach. 

Reviews and suggestions for Commercial Plant-Based products: What would be the best meat alternative for your menu? What about all the commercial plant-based cheeses on the market? I have tested the vast majority of what is available for food service. I will advise you on which would work best for specific uses.

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Staff training: I create recipes and procedures that are fairly mistake proof. I create spice mixes and dry mixes that can be premixed for consistency and easy measuring. Based on your comfort, I will create recipes using easy to find ingredients that are cost effective and easy to store and source. I will work with your head chef, owner, or GM to create easy to follow, step-by-step instructions that are clear, efficient, and consistent. 

Quality check and Control: I can offer my services after the product has launched as either a special or menu item to confirm the consistency of the recipe over time and also across various locations. 

Media Coaching: I will give suggestions on wording and promotion of plant-based products and share pertinent information for marketing purposes. 

Pricing: During our free consultation, I will go over my pricing structure. Some of my pricing will be hourly and some prices are based on the actual project.

For Private Clients

Free ½ hour consultation: I want to make sure that my services fit your needs before either of us commit money or time. We can get together over the phone or on Zoom to chat about your needs and how I may be able to help you.

Zoom classes for individuals and groups: I will be offering various cooking classes for either general recipes for groups or special recipes for individuals. 

Recipe Creation: Do you have a family member who recently went vegan? Or are you getting ready for a big family event and want to bring something plant-based? I can veganize some of your favorite family recipes! I will work with you on allergy issues and comfort level with varied ingredients.

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Cooking Instructions: I will create recipes that work with your kitchen set up, kitchen equipment, and skill level. I may recommend certain ingredients or equipment based on what you want to make, ie. an InstaPot, or nutritional yeast. 

 

Pricing: Pricing will be discussed during the consultation, but in general, I charge by the hour, by the class, or by the recipe. 



About Mimi

Mimi’s formal education includes dual undergraduate degrees in Nutrition and Psychology, and a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology. Early in her professional life, Mimi developed the O2 method of ashtanga-based yoga, and opened her own studios. As her interest and ambitions in vegan cooking increased, she expanded the scope of her professional activities to  create and operate the cult favorite and wildly popular VO2 Vegan Café, in Cambridge, MA.  

Xolo Kitchen is the next chapter – providing a way for Mimi to bring her  knowledge and flair for vegan cooking to other ambitious restaurants, chefs, and their diners.

I started experimenting with plant-based cooking in 2010. My husband Steven said, “you are going vegan aren’t you? Please don’t, it will be awful. I will divorce you!” He was kind of kidding, but I get it. We all have that stereo-type in our heads of the angry, pasty white, skinny vegan, shaking her fists and dumping paint on ladies with fur coats. Here is a little joke I like to tell; “Who are the most annoying people on the planet? Vegans, home-schoolers, and yoga people.” Why is that funny? Because I am all of those things and I get it! Clearly, it doesn’t have to include anger or paint! 

 

So, fast forward to 2012. Steven and I were looking for another yoga space. My yoga studio in Somerville  was, and is, awesome, but it is a big room with a tiny lobby. People wanted to hang out after class but couldn’t so.  I imagined them walking down the street and go to the coffee shop, and I wished I had a place for them to hang, right at the studio. We found a space in Cambridge where we could do that, but it was more than we wanted — 6000 square feet! We would have the extra space and then some. 

 

Now equipped with a place to turn ideas into action, I created and ran our VO2 Vegan Cafe for 6 years — developing, testing, and perfecting dozens of recipes there. “I wanted to create a place where my family and I would want to eat! I wanted more than salad, stir-fry, and uninspired pasta with marinara. I wanted more than sprouts and hummus and I imagined others wanted that too.” Well, they did and they still do.

 

After 6 years, VO2 was super successful, but facing a 400% increase in rent (welcome to Cambridge), we decided to turn the page, and closed the café. We tossed around the idea of  a food truck, which still may be in the future. In the meantime, I was invited down to Mexico in December, 2019,  to consult on the menu of a high-end resort called Maya Tulum. They already had a vegetarian friendly menu, but it was considered all over the place, and the vegan options were nil. With blessings from management, I worked with Chef Mitch, to restructure their several menus, including a la carte lunch and dinner, bar, and buffet menus, adding plant-based protein options, new takes on vegan cheeses, and sauces to make most of the menu vegan. The results are cohesive, inspired, and super tasty.  The new menus are very well received by diners, chef, and management,  and are incredibly satisfying and beautiful! 

 

I came back from that trip realizing that there must be so many other restaurant owners and chefs that want to add plant-based options to their menus. Most chefs and restaurant owners are not truly hostile to the customers who come in a request a plant-based meal, so what’s holding them back? Perhaps… they are busy, overworked, juggling so many things. Chefs want to be proud of their creations. When asked to make something without the right tools, ingredients and skills on the fly, you bet they get frustrated. They can end up sending out something that they are not happy with, and the customer, often, isn’t too happy either. Even the other folks at the table aren’t happy to see their friend or family member eating something unsatisfying, and paying as much for a sub-standard meal. 

 

Plant-based food doesn’t need to be complicated, and use weird ingredients, but it is a different style of cooking. When I first started playing with plant-based cuisine, by necessity I became much more creative as a cook. Without meat or dairy in the middle of the plate, you have to look at the dishes you make with a new eye. I also got really good at working within the context of what’s on hand in the kitchen. I’ve spent many months cooking on our family’s sailboat — talk about having to be creative with what you’ve got! In a restaurant, I like to take a similar approach. With Xolo Kitchen, my goal is to really help chefs work with what they have, meaning skills, equipment, space, and ingredients, to make vegan dishes that are beautiful, delicious, and consistent with the vibe and philosophy of the restaurant.

THE STORY OF

XOLO Kitchen

I was asked to come travel to Tulum,  Mexico in December, 2019 to consult with the chefs at Maya Tulum on how to change their a la carte and buffet menu to make it more plant centered, cohesive, inspired and delicious. And I did just that! After closing our restaurant, VO@ Vegan Cafe in May, I was searching for inspiration on my next project. While walking around town, I came across a sketch book with a beautiful image on the cover drawn by my now friend, Andy Malpica. I read a bit about the image and it’s significance and immediately knew this was going to be important in my life in some way.

XOLO is short for Xoloitxcuintles, a Mexican hairless dog since prehispanic times. The Mexica culture considers him the companion of the dead towards the underworld (Miclan), his image represented life and death as deity and his main feature is his lack of fur demonstrating both strength and vulnerability.

When I first saw the image and read the short description/story of xoloitzcuintle, I immediately thought about the connection first to my son, Dylan. How I hoped and imagined he had Xolo with him when he crossed over and that they were still together. I imagined the animals in my life living and gone. The two dogs that passed away that I know are with Dylan now. I also thought about the symbolism around crossing back and forth between 2 worlds. I don’t believe that Dylan took a one way trip but is crossing back and forth and hopefully Xolo is with him along the way.

(Some of you have noticed the tattoo on my right arm. That is the original drawing

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Now to the business part. I have been a vegan and passionate about animal, human, social justice for many years. Our family opened a vegan restaurant in 2013. Dylan worked there with me and my husband Steven and younger son Deven did too.  It was part of a bigger business that had a yoga studio and wellness center. We had a little apartment and would stay there with our dogs as well. This was going to be our “city” home. The boys were homeschooled all their lives and our priority as a family was working, traveling, playing, and having as many adventures as possible. This was part of that plan. In 2014, Dylan was diagnosed, for the first time, with cancer. He was 12 at the time. He was in and out of the hospital for 5 years and in between. we did our best to continue travel, play and adventures. Because the business was in Boston, and so were the hospitals, the desire for our family to be there became less and less. We closed the business a few months after Dylan left us.

 

Since then, I have had this urge to begin something new, that incorporates so much about what he is and was and also my passion for cooking and food, especially vegan. Dylan was also passionate about animals and was vegan from the age of 10. Here is where Xolo comes in. I realized that I did not want to get back into the restaurant business in the way that I was before. Rather, I planned  to start a consulting business where I work with restaurants and food service companies to help them become inspired and empowered with plant-based cuisine, create plant-based entrees or items for their menu to add to and complement what they already have and in their own style. In essence, I want to help restaurant owners and chefs cross back and forth between 2 worlds rather than having to be stuck in just one. In honor of Dylan’s birthday, May 10, 2020 ( his 19th birthday), we launched this new venture, XOLO Kitchen.

Why Chefs Love Us

Rodolfo Cornick
General Manager,
Maya Tulum Resort and Spa

I invited Mimi to consult with us on our a la carte and buffet menu. She was super easy to work with, made our staff and chef feel inspired and empowered, and knows her way around a restaurant kitchen without getting IN the way. She gave us lots of great ideas, recipes, and suggestions to make our menu more plant-forward, inspired, cohesive, beautiful and flavorful without adding a lot of extra work for our staff or expensive, hard to find, ingredients. I would recommend her highly to give your restaurant, resort, or food-service business a leg up on the competition but adding more delicious and satisfying plant-based options that work with your existing menu. It has added value, increased our revenue, customer experience and satisfaction.

Ken Wehry
Operations Manager,
Las Olas Taqueria

I had the pleasure of meeting Mimi Loureiro after she was referred to do a vegan dish consultation for our restaurants Las Olas Taqueria. We were looking to launch a vegan gluten free protein option for our shops and Mimi hit it out of the park with a Soyrizo (Chorizo) vegan protein recipe that was a perfect fit for our menu and business concept. Her communication through the whole process from the tasting stage, recipe design and launch at our restaurant of the Soyrizo was very streamlined and professional. Her communication was always prompt and Mimi was amazing to work with listening to our wants and needs and giving us her full attention during the whole process. I would highly recommend her skills and services to anyone looking to take their vegan/vegetarian menu to the next level!

Maki Pombo
owner,
Volcanic Ash

I have worked with Mimi for years on different projects and was a huge fan of the food at VO2 Vegan Cafe.

She is creative, easy to work with, inspiring, empowering, and LOVES to make plant-based foods that are accessible and delicious for everyone.

Selfishly, as a vegan of 15 years with an omnivore family, I can't wait for her to work with your restaurant so I can go there with my family and order whatever she creates for you!

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“Nothing has benefited me more physically, mentally and most important, spiritually, then adapting a vegan diet. The best decision I have made as a human for me and the planet.”
-Tim Shieff

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