Restaurateur and community supporter Pinky Cole shares a seat at her table
Pinky Cole is doing something different with this egg roll recipe—and it’s working. Her Slutty Vegan restaurants have taken off in Georgia and expanded to New York. In November 2022, she embarked on a tour to promote her new cookbook, Eat Plants, B*tch, which begins with a user-friendly explanation of vegan recipes and their basics and then moves into sections that celebrate Jamaican Saturdays, Cole’s favorite foods for throwing a party, and her Southern and Jamaican roots.
It’s clear that Cole’s success is due to a lot of hard work—but it’s more than that. Her sincerity, her dedication to quality, and her determination to use her platform to uplift others is evident in every aspect of the Slutty Vegan empire, from her Pinky Cole Foundation dedicated to building generational wealth in communities of color to her decision to share space in her first cookbook with other vegan chefs.
Plus—just like this bright, happy, sexy cookbook that has something for everyone—she’s a lot of fun.
Slutty Vegan Owner Pinky Cole Discusses Her New Cookbook
What inspired the idea of a collaborative cookbook with recipes from guest chefs?
Because I’m really rooted in giving people an opportunity. I know that there’s a lot of really hungry chefs out there—all they need is one chance or one opportunity. And if I could utilize my platform to give them an opportunity, then I know that I’d be doing something right. And it just felt good to see other people win. They had no idea that I put them in a cookbook. They submitted, and it was a surprise when they saw themselves in the book.
What’s your favorite recipe from the cookbook?
The cheesesteak eggrolls. My fiancé [Derrick Hayes] made that recipe. He actually can cook better than me. He’s a really good cook, and he has a cheesesteak restaurant in Atlanta that everybody raves about, but I can’t eat the food. So I asked him to make me a vegan cheesesteak egg roll. And when I tell you that thing was out of this world—that’s one of my favorites. There’s so many—there’s a black bean burger. We got some really dope soups in there. There’s something for every occasion, like if you want something chill and you want a sandwich, you can make that; if you want some soup or a smoothie, there’s something for everybody, and it does not feel like you’re compromising.
You write, “I believe in leading with empathy and love in all things. I want people to feel good when they visit my restaurants.” Why is empathy so important to you?
I want people to come on board on whatever step of the journey they’re in. I want them to really feel like this is a safe space and, like, I can come and be a part of this movement. I don’t have to be somebody else that I’m not—I can just show up how I am. And I can choose to eat vegan food if I want and if I don’t, then great.
Most of the people who come to my restaurants, they are meat eaters. I need them to take this experience home so that they can understand [that] veganism is not hard. You just got to be super creative. I took out the hard part and I made it creative for you.
People can utilize this book as the vegan bible. If they are in the mood for something vegan for the night, they can try it. You don’t have to use this cookbook every day. No fine print, no pressure. I just want people to know that they have options.
Why has it taken so long for vegan food to take off?
Veganism has never been “cool” in my opinion, right? I think that pop culture has made it trendy, which made people want to jump on the bandwagon, but that bandwagon turned into something a lot more permanent. And it feels good to know that there’s so many people that are interested in the lifestyle.
I remember, before anybody else was going vegan and vegetarian, it was hard for me to find good food to eat because there weren’t many options. But now we’ve got so much innovation. Now vegans like myself really have places to eat without having to feel compromised. Slutty Vegan has helped grow that movement. And we are only just getting started.
Pinky Cole’s Favorite Recipe
- by TLP Editors
- by Amber Chase
- by Emily Havener