How chef Reeky, owner of Cheezy Vegan found his passion for the culinary arts while incarcerated

As of 2021, veganism has made its way into the hearts of many Philly residents.

Whether for health reasons or ethical concerns, more and more people are indulging in vegan food for a better alternative to traditional staples.

Chef Reeky, owner of Cheezy Vegan in Delaware County and Chef Reeky’s Café & Juice bar in southwest Philly, wanted to enter the vegan food scene due to its growing popularity.

Reeky opened its second space, Cheezy Vegan, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in November 2020.

“I was a little apprehensive at first, but the only thing that kept me down was that the previous restaurant I had before already had vegan follow-up,” Reeky said in a recent interview. with News AL DÍA.

Despite being a little concerned about opening such a niche restaurant in the midst of a global pandemic, he knew that presenting unique dishes was his true calling.

The way he entered the food scene wasn’t your usual way.

“I started cooking in the penitentiary, I was 19 and when I was sentenced the prison was overcrowded,” he said. “So as not to be so much in my thoughts, I ended up working in the kitchen.”

Initially, Chef Reeky didn’t really have a passion for cooking, but he found it when he was assigned as a pot cook.

Three months later, he was the go-to guy in the kitchen.

“I spent over 4,600 hours in the kitchen as an apprentice,” he says.

Reeky absorbed all of the information and was able to graduate from the program and went on to earn a cooking degree.

After graduating, Reeky opened his own business. He then opened up another space focused on healthy juices for locals.

Since opening Cheezy Vegan, he’s been thinking about what his next move will be.

“I’m going into another restaurant this summer in South Philly,” he said.

So far, Reeky is in the process of setting up a new boutique on 17th and Federal streets.

The store will feature all natural juices, cocktails and other delicious vegan options.

“I would also like to have a vegan food truck and highlight more plant-based alternatives,” Reeky said.

Of course, he will also be exhibiting his famous (vegan) macaroni and cheese once he receives said food truck.

In fact, his mac and cheese was the best-selling product at his Delaware County restaurant.

“I would say it’s the most popular dish on the menu,” he said.

The small dining establishment offers three versions of macaroni and cheese, a traditional flavor, a buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese, and another version of macaroni and cheese called Goo LaLa.

“It’s mac and cheese with our homemade goulash on top,” he says.

Another fan favorite is Reeky’s take on an all-American classic called McDonalds’ McMuffin.

He calls it The McReeky.

The sandwich consists of marinated tofu, vegan sausage, vegan cheddar cheese, spicy maple drip on a toasted English muffin.

“The sandwich is definitely a flagship product for the restaurant,” he said.

Check Cheezy Vegan on 604 Fairview Rd in Woodlyn, PA.


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Jamie Collins

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