California caterer creates plant-based plates for customers
It was two years ago when Louis Fuentes had a catering event at an art walk show in San Diego.
He remembers a particular customer ordering 12 vegan fish tacos and six drinks from his booth. The customer asked him to put two tacos on each plate and wrap them in tin foil.
He then saw the man walk across the street and distribute the meals to people on the street who appeared in need.
Fuentes got a warm fuzzy feeling when he realized his food wasn’t simply nutritious and filling. His skill gave people pleasure—and it made those who enjoyed his work happy to share it with others.
Fuentes started Grimmz Vegan Catering three years ago. He has an extensive background in the cooking industry, has been a cook for 16 years and a vegan for nine. He has been able to use that experience and turn Grimmz Vegan catering into a successful business.
His normal gigs are usually at local markets, art walks, nightclubs and music shows. Although the pandemic has stopped him booking catering gigs, he hopes to return to events to provide delicious and affordable vegan meals to his customers soon.
“He just walked them over to people in need and gave him all the drinks and tacos that he got from me and that just really touched me,” Fuentes said about the life-changing moment. “That just inspired me. It was really sweet to see that.”
The caterer’s career, in many ways, began with a desire to change his eating habits. Nine years ago, he decided to embark on a plant-based diet. He started ordering the usual meals at his local Del Taco—fries and a veggie burrito. After recognizing how much restaurants upcharge for their offerings, he decided to use his years in the food industry to create vegan meals.
But nine years ago, there was little information on vegan recipes or plant-based products available at markets.
One of the few voices for the movement was Guadalupe Posada, a vegan for 15 years, who helped increase the visibility of veganism through blogging and social media.
“A decade ago, there really wasn’t much information on the internet like there is nowadays,” Posada said. “Now I can Google ‘chicken vegan’ and it will generate a long list of recipes and images I can look at. Sometimes I find myself up at 2 in the morning looking up recipes on my phone on what I can make the next day.”
Fuentes created an ever-expanding notebook filled with recipes. And three years ago, one of his friends was coordinating an artwalk and asked him if he knew any caterers. With 13 years in the cooking industry and his connections to the local music scene, he decided it was time to launch his vegan catering business.
Grimmz Vegan catering was born.
Fuentes said he knew that he was heading in the right direction when he received a lot of word of mouth that helped his business grow.
“Customers were drawn to the price point, my ethics and mission behind my brand, providing vegan meals without up-charging,” Fuentes said.
A loyal non-vegan customer to Grimmz Vegan, Araceli Guerrero, has enjoyed Fuentes’ meals whenever she attended his catering events.
“I had no idea there was such a thing as vegan fish tacos,” Guerrero said. “I could not distinguish the taste from a regular fish and his vegan fish. I was like, oh my gosh, this is exactly the same.”
Fuentes’ business grew to the point that one of his few problems has been his popularity.
“The thing I have experienced that I feel may be considered wrong is being too busy,” he said. “There have been events where I actually ran out of food a few hours early. That was just me underestimating how many people were there.”