LISC DC is proud to have Velvet Jacobs, known as “Chef Velvet,” as our first participant in the Kiva Zip lending program on Rhode Island Avenue NE. Chef Velvet’s business – The Vegan Experience by Chef Velvet – is a new medium-sized vegan restaurant and juice bar coming to DC’s Woodridge neighborhood.
Beyond being a great place to eat, The Vegan Experience will also be an artistic atmosphere with live music, local bands, spoken word artists, and the occasional celebrity appearance. In fact, for the past three years, Chef Velvet has worked as the personal chef of neo-soul artist, Erykah Badu.
Chef Velvet was endorsed by our partner, Rhode Island Avenue NE Main Street. “We are endorsing Chef Velvet for many reasons. Not only will The Vegan Experience team be bringing in a dining concept that neighborhood residents have been requesting, but they also bring a wealth of experience in the food and hospitality industry,” stated Kyle Todd, Executive Director of RIA Main Street NE.
As of today, 99% of Chef Velvet’s $2,500 goal has been raised. The money raised will allow Chef Velvet to hire and train employees and purchase the necessary inventory needed to operate a successful business and expand.
“The Vegan Experience cannot operate effectively without qualified trained employees, which is why we are dedicated to offering a rewarding work place for our employees with fair wages and advancement opportunities,” stated Chef Velvet.
For more than 25 years, Chef Velvet has worked in the culinary field as the owner of V’s Vegan Cuisine. Chef Velvet developed a love for nutrition and cooking when she was in elementary school and her passion for vegan cuisine increased over the years.
As a way to give back to her community and address the food disparities in the metro DC area, in 2013, Chef Velvet co-founded Vegan in the Hood. “I was inspired to start a nonprofit to teach under-served communities the importance of community gardens, self-sustainability, and the life benefits of a healthy diet,” she explained.
Chef Velvet provides free cooking classes to members of the DC community and teaches youth and their families about affordable vegan meal options and how to build community gardens. “My distinct vegan soul food style has been well received and services provided include weekly meal planning, special occasion catering, entertainment, and corporate events,” she noted.
“I am excited to share my passion for vegan cuisine with individuals who are ready to embrace a healthier mind and body!” Chef Velvet added.
LISC DC and Rhode Island Avenue NE Main Street welcome The Vegan Experience by Chef Velvet to the RIA commercial corridor and are excited that neighborhood residents and visitors will soon have access to more healthy food options.