interview

MeetKai Team

Meet Jenniffer Delgado, a vegan chef from Mexico City

Jenniffer Delgado @jennjoydelgado is a vegan chef born in Mexico City. She is the founder of the @animaluxmx Institute, a school of healthy living and vegan cooking for anyone who wants to learn how to make delicious vegan dishes, as well as @vaquitafree, a line of plant-based cheeses. 

When did you know you wanted to be a chef?

It was a decision related to the high demand for everything vegan. When I started there was almost no information in Mexico for people to learn more about the subject, so I ventured to share knowledge about it and that led me to build myself more as a chef by experience. There isn’t an educational offer from schools that includes how to become a vegan chef (although I’m doing something about it, launching the first certification to support those who already cook or have an interest in a professional gastronomic training in this field, through the Institute that I created: the Anima Lux Institute)

What do you enjoy the most about your time in the kitchen?

The most delicious thing for me is to begin to feel the aromas of the spices and how dishes turn out when everything is integrated. I think an essential part is to enjoy this process so that the dishes carry my best energy and to transmit that to each diner.

Why did you decide to go vegan?

Already practicing a healthy diet, I began to learn of people who did not consume anything of animal origin. I found that information mostly in English and once I was on track, I was encouraged to try their proposal and read their reasons. I have always been interested in caring for nature and life and it made complete sense to me in terms of deforestation and meat consumption. But the game changer was to notice in my daily practice, "me cayó el veinte" as we say in Mexico, that if I wanted to be free (in a spiritual sense) it was highly incongruous that I consumed suffering. That thought triggered a memory of when I was little and visited my grandmother in town. I used to accompany her to buy fresh chicken and it was horrible to witness their deaths - but since it was something accepted by my circle - I simply accepted it as the norm. When I remembered that, and from experience, having verified that I actually eat more delicious foods now, I did not want to eat any type of animal again.

What are the main myths about vegan food that you have proven to be untrue in your experience?

1.- Already practicing a healthy diet, I began to learn of people who did not consume anything of animal origin.

2.- You will be malnourished: vegan food is as healthy or as junk as you want it to be. I put it in both ways because learning to eat healthy is necessary no matter what you eat. Thinking veganism is not nutritious because you only know vegans who eat fast food, is not a good parameter. Even if you have a diet that includes animals, animal foods do not ensure that you’re fully nourished. Learning to eat healthy is up to every one of us and it’s about making decisions that promote and support the proper functioning of our bodies (and I have to note plant foods, fungi, algae, whole grains, and legumes generate fewer toxins in the body and have better absorption).

What can we learn at the Anima Lux Institute and how do we join?

At the Institute we’ve created short and intensive classes on specific topics of interest to anyone who is genuinely interested in taking care of their health, and doing it in a vegan/plant-based way. It is both for people who have never tried a healthy or vegan lifestyle, as well as for health area professionals, companies, and entrepreneurs. We have subjects such as gluten-free bakery, healthy and aphrodisiac pastries, ferments for intestinal care, Mexican vegan cuisine and, here’s a premise: we just launched in November of 2021, the International Vegan Gastronomy Course and diploma. In it, during approximately 120 hours of content, people can be trained for different areas with internal and external endorsements from the Anima Lux Institute, to make their curriculum more extensive in knowledge and skills of vegan food preparation from all over the world, for them to achieve delicious and unforgettable culinary experiences.

Do you have a favorite vegan dish that you would like Kai to recommend?

I love making desserts! So you will almost always see me surrounded by pastries, but I also adore Mexican and Japanese food. Mexican food, because it’s full of flavors and in itself, it is very vegetal and colorful. Then Japanese food I love because it is refreshing and incorporates flavors from the sea.