In the Lowcountry, barbecue, Southern fixings and soul food aren’t hard to come by, but one Bluffton woman said she’s catering food you usually can’t find in this neck of the woods: vegan cuisine with a Southern flair.
Michelle Grandy started Ohhlicious Food, a vegan food delivery and catering service, about two months ago after realizing there weren’t a lot of takeout options for plant-based eaters in Beaufort County.
“I watched my grandmother cook,” she said. “So I grew up on soul food and when I became vegan I wanted to be able to still have and taste the good food I’ve always been used to, but I needed it to be vegan-ized. I know that this area is so big on soul food and so I wanted to create soul food but a little bit healthier way of eating it by vegan-izing it.”
Though many would assume that vegan diets couldn’t survive in barbecue country, Grandy said she sold out of all 75 dishes of the four plates she featured at the Lowcountry VegFest on Hilton Head Island in October. She said she’s noticed a growing interest in her food from younger people and the African-American community.
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“Believe it or not, there are quite a few vegans here,” she said.
Grandy, who’s been a vegan for about eight years, said she serves soul dishes like her grandmother used to make with a plant-based twist — something she calls “soul’s food.” Dishes from her menu include vegan chicken salad sandwiches, potato salad, curry chickpea, chili, cheeseburgers and mac ’n’ cheese.
“The collard greens, you taste it and people think that they’re tasting Southern-style collard greens with turkey neck bones,” she said. “It’s the flavoring that I use to bring forth that, you know, taste.”
For the Okatie, Bluffton, Hilton Head Island, Sun City Hilton Head and Savannah areas, Grandy said orders can be made online two days in advance, and deliveries are made at local pickup locations from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Order minimums for Hilton Head, Savannah and Okatie are $40, and $15 for Sun City residents, with delivery fees included in the menu price, according to www.ohhliciousfood.com.
She said she currently doesn’t offer deliveries in Beaufort, but she has had Beaufort customers drive down to her south of the Broad River pickup locations.
In the future, Grandy said she’s moving toward corporate catering and wellness, as well as event planning in addition to her delivery business.
“I’ve already been assigned to a specific job in the Savannah area in corporate wellness to come and cater employee events and board meeting events where people are now asking for plant-based food,” she said.
For the non-vegans out there, Grandy said she encourages them to try her food, not to persuade them to join the lifestyle, but to let them explore different, healthier options.
“This is for omnivores, this is for carnivores, you name it,” she said. “This is for everybody.”