Lauren Ochoa took her after-school coping mechanism and made it into a pop-up restaurant called Isabel’s Vegan Cuisine.
She was a Florida International University student studying criminal justice and psychology when she went vegan. Cooking was her escape mechanism after a tough day at school.
She decided to spend her free time in the kitchen, learning how to make vegan versions of the food she missed.
“I wanted to kind of get the same food that I craved and was used to, but I wanted it to be completely veganized but with the same flavors,” says Ochoa.
After graduation, she realized that she didn’t want to pursue either of those professions.
That led her to start thinking about restaurants, especially when the pandemic forced many to close.
And that, in turn, led her to first create a vegan food delivery service and then a pop-up called Isabel’s.
She created her pop-up to give people a different take on vegan food.
She believes that vegan food doesn’t have to be healthy or gluten-free — and that it should hit the spot.
“It should be something that you can go out and eat the way that anybody goes out to eat anywhere,” she says. “Not necessarily thinking I need to be healthy, so I’m going to eat a vegan option.”
The uncertainty of whether she would have a job the next day made her take matters into her own hands, so she started the delivery service with her brother, Adrian.
The food on their website includes empanadas and many other savory delights. They set up in various locations when possible. You can find these on their Instagram, which is linked above.