Every year, millions of viewers around the world tune in to watch the Met Gala’s red carpet. A venerable list of who’s who, from celebrities to athletes to politicians, strut down the carpet amidst a sea of paparazzi wearing an interpretation of that year’s theme. However, the stars aren’t only on the carpet. Behind the scenes, even the caterers are noteworthy.
At the 2022 Met Gala, themed “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” celebrity chef and personality Marcus Samuelsson was tasked with curating a menu that met the theme. As an immigrant himself, he understood that American cuisine is a collection of all the people who came to the country. So, he tapped three chefs from diverse backgrounds, one of which was vegan celebrity chef, Lauren Von Der Pool.
Von Der Pool’s Journey
– Advertisement –
Von Der Pool is no stranger to celebrity. The Guyanese-American chef has worked with some of the biggest personalities in their respective fields. Stevie Wonder, Common, the Serena sisters, and Patti Labelle all make up a fraction of her clientele. She’s also catered for the Oscars, Grammys, BET Awards, The Espys, the SAG Awards, and many others.
There’s a stigma often associated with veganism – the food is bland. What makes Von Der Pool’s creations stand out is the way she dispels that myth. She’s more than a chef; she’s a food artist. Her Instagram account, @queenofgreen, is a testament to her talents, displaying rows of incredible food that prove the ancient Roman gourmands right after all: “We eat with our eyes first.”
Von Der Pool’s journey to veganism is shocking, yet simple. At sixteen she was stabbed in the head. “I got stabbed in my head and almost died. I was living life on a low vibrational frequency, and I was deep in it,” she shared in an interview with The Beet. She’s not the first person to radically change their life after a brush with death, but she operated with such clarity from that moment that it is awe-inspiring. “It woke me up. It made me realize, not only do I have a great purpose on the planet, but that I’m amazing and I’m beautiful. All the things I didn’t really see in myself, I began to see.”
With a new lease on life, Von Der Pool had an epiphany to visit a bookstore and she purchased the first book that caught her eye, ‘Heal Thyself for Health and Longevity’ by Queen Afua, a bestselling author and wellness coach. The book had a profound impact on a young Von Der Pool, introducing her to the concept of veganism. Today, she is proud to call Queen Afua her spiritual mother and friend.
The expression ‘quitting cold turkey’ is neither literal nor advised, but Von Der Pool’s crash course into veganism had her giving up meat overnight. “I was looking at food as medicine, so I wanted to tap into not only the foods, but the herbs and what they did for you, and how to make my own medicine,” she explained. Months later she had her first foray into the food business, selling raw foods in front of Howard University.
An Advocate for Healthy Living
She completed her formal culinary education at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu, but has blazed her own trail ever since. “We are what we eat and really what we consume on all levels, so let us consume love in the form of food, thoughts, and feelings,” Lauren explained her mantra. Her food has lived up to the billing. “I have been my healthiest with Lauren as my chef,” testified rap superstar and actor Common. “I love her food so much that I have often had her ship it to me while I’m on the road.” Tennis legend Serena Williams echoed a similar statement: “Lauren has inspired me to eat in a much healthier way. In return I have been able to have even more success, energy, and vital spirit.”
While Von Der Pool has made waves in the celebrity world, her work is still accessible to those of us with humbler bank accounts. She offers one-on-one private consultations to review health goals, and medical conditions to figure out a plant-based dietary plan that will work best for you. Also, her Eat Yourself Sexy 21-Day Journey is an affordable three-week community detox program at a price point accessible to most.