Damn it feels good to be a vegan.
At least that is what the Vegan Temptress a.k.a. chef Kristina Addington told Insider Louisville about her decision to become vegan around a decade ago. Her partner, Jeff Hennis, followed suit about 18 months ago.
“Our tastebuds opened up to new flavors. We started loving food more,” Addington said. “It sounds so funny, but it’s true, and we hear it from other people.”
Processed foods, such as meats and cheeses, contain lots of salts and sugars, necessary preservatives that aren’t all that healthy and can overwhelm the senses, she said. “They almost take over your tastebuds and make you immune to other flavors.”
Since coming out as a vegan, Addington has devoted her career to touting the health and social benefits of forsaking cheese, bacon, eggs and other animal byproducts. She gained acclaim in Louisville after winning the Food Network competition “Cutthroat Kitchen” in 2014 and starting a food truck called V-Grits, which serves a full vegan menu.
Now she is taking her business a step further with the addition of a weekly vegan meal subscription box called The V-Box, a project she’s been working on for the past three months during the food truck’s off season.
“We knew when we started the food truck that we ultimately wanted to do to something bigger… have a bigger positive effect on people eating healthier,” Addington said. “(Customers) all told us the same thing: ‘We want to eat like this at home, but we don’t really know where to begin.’”
Cue The V-Box.
Addington hopes to make it a national brand, delivering enough ingredients for three weekly recipes to homes across the United States. Each meal will feed two people.
The boxes will include more familiar foods such as quinoa and kale, as well as less familiar ingredients like V-Grits-branded vegan cheeses and Tahini sauce. Six-step recipes for dishes likes vegan chili with whole wheat pasta, quinoa enchilada casserole and Fusilli pasta with sundried tomato tapenade also will be in each box.
The V-Box starts taking orders today and is getting its “feet wet” by offering Louisville residents the chance to pick-up boxes at Chef Space, a food company incubator located at 1812 West Muhammad Ali Boulevard.
Within a couple weeks, The V-Box will start shipping to more than half of the United States via UPS. Once the website is live, people can check to see if The V-Box ships to their city.
The website also will feature tutorials and tell people where they can find a quality vegan meal in their city.
The cost for those who pick up boxes is $56 a box. For those who need or want the boxes shipped weekly, the cost is $72 a box, which includes shipping. Customers can also skip weeks without facing a charge.
The boxes, made of old burlap sacks, are insulated and include ice packs to keep produce fresh when they are shipped.
“We looked into it a lot, and we tried to make sure all the packaging we are using is completely sustainable,” Addington said.
To start, The V-Box will be staffed by Addington and Hennis, but she said she expects to add more jobs as more subscriptions roll in, particularly once V-Grits hits the road again in March.
“We are hoping it will grow pretty quickly.”