Updated: Apr 7, 2020
Written by Morgan Forde
Photographed by Natasha Magino
In December 2017, Baltimore-based chef Aaric Allen launched his vegan catering company VFat—realizing his dream of getting into the restaurant business. His inspiration for the venture came from two unlikely sources: The Food Network's hit show “Man vs. Food”—a tour through America’s greasy, guilty pleasures—and his grandmother’s long-term commitment to a vegan diet. “Since my grandmother is vegan and has been vegan longer than I been alive,” Allen says, “I always looked at what she ate and wasn’t scared to try it. It always tasted good, but I would have never thought to try out the lifestyle.”
Growing up Allen says that he always loved cooking and strived to create the perfect burger. Knowing that he wanted to open his first restaurant before age 30, he went to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore where he focused on restaurant management. After college, Allen launched his culinary career as a pit master for The Hideaway in Odenton, Md. before making his next move to become the sous chef and kitchen manager of Pizzeria Vetri in Washington, D.C.
Despite his newfound success in the D.C. restaurant scene, Allen continued to pursue his dream of starting his own business. Initially, Allen says he was focused on designing a menu around “fatty foods.” However, it wasn’t until he was trying to lose weight, and improve his overall health, that he decided to give veganism a try—inspiring the concept for his new vegan catering company VFat. The food Allen creates is inspired by his favorite comfort food restaurants in the local area and those he’s seen featured across the U.S. on the Food Network. VFat’s menu includes dishes that most diners would never expect from a vegan label including More Mac N Cheese, Pulled No Pork Sandwiches, and VFat Cheesesteak. The company’s tagline, “Who said eating vegan had to be healthy,” speaks to Allen’s guiding mission—creating satisfying comfort food for vegans on a “cheat day” or anyone simply looking for food eats.
When asked about his plans for the future, Aaric says that, “I will be rebranding my services and adding on a Meal Prep concept while making an extended menu...I also am planning an event for early June! Just follow VFat on all social medias and Instagram @_vfat_ to keep posted!!