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Three Black Barbers Introduce New Vegan Food Experience to New Orleans



  • by Peter Manley

Three black barbers are setting out to bring a unique vegan food experience to New Orleans, with a twist. Barbers Roy Joseph III, Ryan Billew, and Ollie Williams have introduced a unique vegan food concept that takes inspiration from New Orleans’ ever-popular cuisine scene.

Essentially, the barbers want to show their community that vegan food doesn’t have to be bland and tasteless. Rather, it can be dressed up to be just as good as, if not better than, animal-based foods.

The concept is the brainchild of Roy Joseph III, who decided about a year ago that he wanted to cut out meat from his diet and adopt a more vegan lifestyle. His decision stemmed from the fact that there are many health concerns about meat being announced constantly.

Roy told Travel Noire, “Every other month there is a recall on meat. I was tired of seeing the same warnings in the media. I decided to stop eating beef, pork, and later chicken.”

As Roy experimented with vegan cooking, he decided to bring his delicious vegan dishes to the barbershop to let his co-barbers (and customers) taste it. As time went by, his barbershop colleagues Ryan Billew and Ollie Williams convinced him that he should take his vegan food and create a business from it. From there, Vegan Wit a Twist was born, led by the three black barbers.

The barbers-turned-business owners now serve up delicious New Orleans-inspired vegan dishes that have become quite popular in the community. They are passionate about inspiring their community to adopt a vegan diet.

Roy said, “We want our people to wake up. The Black community is plagued by disease. It’s the food that is giving us these issues. It’s not always genetics. While our food is beautiful, it’s hurting us. It’s time to cut some of that stuff out.”

While the trio is on a mission to inspire healthier food decisions in their community, their dishes do not lack in taste and flavor.

“We’re from New Orleans, which is known for its cuisine,” Billew said. “When people hear vegan, they automatically think bland. We’re throwing away the bland idea and adding in New Orleans flavor.”

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