The Ultimate Experience: New restaurant celebration is not just for vegans

By Sarah Haber

For the past few years, chef Jason Wyrick of The Vegan Taste and Glendale’s Casa Tera had been wanting to create an experience that showcases vegan cuisine.

When Jozh Watson of Phoenix Vegan suggested they partner to cultivate the ultimate vegan experience in Phoenix, Wyrick knew he could not pass up the opportunity.

“For me, food is about community and bringing people together. Vegan Restaurant Week makes us celebrate the opportunity to do that,” Wyrick says.

From Sunday, Sept. 12, to Saturday, Sept. 18, a multitude of Phoenix restaurants, bakeries and food trucks are banding together to create pre-fixe plant-based menus during Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week.

Each dining institution will offer its own specialized three- or five-course meal that will continue throughout the week. Wyrick says this experience will allow customers to enjoy plant-based cooking at a fair price.

At first glance, one may think that this week is entirely catered toward the vegan community, when in fact it is the opposite.

“This week serves a couple different purposes. Nonvegan diners can experience new food,” Wyrick says. “For vegan diners, there are a lot of nonvegan restaurants putting out vegan options. We can expose vegan diners to different restaurants as well as nonvegans to vegan foods.”

For many, the ideation of veganism may come across as intimidating or even bland. Wyrick hopes Vegan Restaurant Week will expose vegan cuisine and give restaurantgoers the “push” to step outside of their comfort zones.

Wyrick, a plant-based cooking expert, understands the stigma around veganism and hopes to rewrite that narrative. His journey began when he lost more than 100 pounds, defeating diabetes, when he switched to plant-based cooking. In the process, he noticed there were limited vegan recipes that tasted good and were easy to make. Wyrick then taught himself to cook and found that vegan cuisine is handled with more care. Thus, he created his service, The Vegan Taste.

“If you can make hummus out of a blender, you can make 50 different dishes,” Wyrick says.

Over the years, he has mastered his craft and has noticed that his peers have followed suit. Wyrick explains that food in the Valley is elevating every day and “plant-based is at the forefront.”

In September, attendees can expect a plethora of creative flavorful dishes at a fair price destined to open their mind to a different dining experience.

Wyrick recommends that people come with an open mind and enjoy themselves. After being apart for so long, this week is a chance to bring people together under the best circumstance: food.

“This is just great food,” he says. “We want you to come. Come celebrate food,” he adds.