March 21, 2023

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Dharma Southern Kitchen area seems to bring vegan foods to the masses

ORLANDO, Fla. – A past girlfriend initial released Shaun Noonan to the idea of switching to a vegan diet program, but it’s a life-style that has appear to determine his perform.

“That (partnership) was youthful in my teens, so I experienced under no circumstances genuinely formed that vintage unfavorable view of vegetarianism,” Noonan recalled. “I grew up participating in ice hockey and martial arts and points like that — and I was also having vegetables. So I hardly ever seriously obtained that typical masculine point that greens equivalent weakness or everything like that.”


Noonan now owns and operates Dharma Southern Kitchen area, a vegan cafe chain aimed at turning Southern-influenced foodstuff into absolutely plant-primarily based foods.

“One-hundred p.c plant-based mostly and Southern cuisine was the most absurd thing that I could tackle,” Noonan mentioned. “Plant-based mostly food items at the time — all people was trying to promote you these like, carrot sticks and hummus dip and convincing you that these collard wraps have been food stuff, and I’m like, ‘Man, arrive on. No one has to consume that rubbish.’”


Noonan wanted to convey people vegan foodstuff that strike all the superior notes of cuisine — sweet, savory, salty, spicy and umami. He details out that lots of dishes generally related with Southern foodstuff are already vegan at their core.

“A great deal of it is unintentionally vegan in the initially position, like mashed potatoes are mashed potatoes until finally you pour cheese and milk into it,” Noonan stated. “You know, that’s just a little something that the dairy sector forced us to do. Fifty a long time ago, we all were being informed that if we didn’t eat dairy, somehow our bones have been heading to liquefy or we weren’t going to improve up effectively or some nonsense like that.”

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Noonan claimed he also normally gravitated toward Southern delicacies for it “heartiness.” The chef lived all around the world and the state via his perform in the culinary entire world and even right before that as a self-described “Army brat,” together with stints in Central Florida.


“I was lifted mostly in an Italian home and so and I appreciate Italian cuisine. I just considered that Southern delicacies was getting these types of a status of currently being meat-targeted that I desired to be a disruptor model,” he explained.

In the end, Noonan explained he does not assume to convert the masses into vegans. He also reported he doesn’t want to disgrace persons for taking in and savoring meat.

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His genuine goal is to make vegan foodstuff a aspect of the conversation.

“I just want it to be component of that dialogue, exactly where it is like, ‘Man, I have not experienced superior vegan meals in like two months, let us go get vegan,’” he claimed.

As he seems to be to broaden that dialogue, Noonan a short while ago secured funding to expand Dharma’s footprint throughout Florida. Noonan hopes to have a few new areas open up up by the conclude of 2022.

On the hottest episode of Florida Foodie, Noonan talks about his enlargement options and his intention of franchising Dharma. He also shares his love of Bulgarian cuisine and why he is inspired by quickly-food chains including plant-centered alternatives to their menu.

You should abide by our Florida Foodie hosts on social media. You can discover Candace Campos on Twitter and Facebook. Lisa Bell is also on Fb and Twitter and you can look at out her children’s book, “Norman the Watchful Gnome.”


Florida Foodie is a bi-weekly podcast from WKMG and Graham Media that usually takes a nearer glance at what we consume, how we take in it and the affect that has on us here in Florida and for everyone, just about everywhere. Discover new episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or anywhere you obtain your beloved podcasts.

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