LOS ANGELES — The pandemic has altered the way Americans are eating and shopping. According to WalletHub, 43% of people are comfort buying in 2020.
There has also been a rise in candy, snacks, and junk food sales. One Los Angeles chef has seen a rise in her decadent dishes in recent months.
Chef Mimi Williams spends her days recreating nostalgic dishes for a vegan audience like mac and cheese. “I’m very passionate about having those items that people are craving and miss when they switch over to a plant-based diet,” said Williams.
The executive chef at Counterpart uses her talents to show that dairy free or plant-based meals can be delicious, saying, “Just because it’s vegan, doesn’t mean it has to be dry and bland. As a chef, I really tackle that misconception and I want to enhance plants and make them meat contenders.”
Williams is feeding the need because the vegan trend is not going away any time soon. According to Grubhub, in only the first half of 2020, vegan orders have risen by 23%, with plant-based burgers up 90%.
Williams definitely agrees more and more people are switching over in recent years. “It’s sustainable. It’s not only good for your body, it’s good for the planet,” she said.
Since the pandemic started, Williams has also seen a rise in sales of her more decadent dishes. “A huge peak in heavier items like French toast, our burritos, our chilaquiles, just loaded with so much flavor,” she said.
Grubhub also reports that comfort food orders have gone up over the last few months, including burritos. Williams said that’s what people want right now, even herself.
“I’m speaking for myself, but when I’m home at the end of the day in my pajamas, I don’t want a kale salad. I’m thinking something fried with mashed potatoes,” she said.
During a time when everything is so uncertain, the chef feels that enjoying a meal that brings you back to your childhood or your favorite moment can help you get through the pandemic.
“When I’m eating a bowl of ice cream, it reminds me it’s not as bad as it seems and there’s better times on the horizon,” said Williams.