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Inspiring Conversations with Jerel Refocused of Refocused Vegan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jerel Refocused. 

Hi Jerel, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
The story of Refocused began in a non-vegan kitchen. I was trying to figure out what to eat in a household that normally ate pizza and McDonalds. I began cooking out of necessity. I was self-taught, but my food was really good according to my friends that I share with. This happened long before Impossible Burgers, Beyond Sausage, and any good vegan cheese was invented. 

I continued to hone my craft and eventually decided to vend at a Vegfest. My food sold in 2 hours. I did another festival about a month later and made twice as much food. We sold out everything in 2 hours again! Something major was happening. 

I was coerced into entering the first-ever Vegan Mac & Cheese contest in Baltimore. All of Baltimore’s vegan restaurants, a few other establish restaurants, and several establish professional chefs participated. I was shocked and amazed when I won that competition against those local “heavyweights.” 

The next year, I did more festivals and made a lot more food. My lines were 1-2 hours long and we always sold out regardless of the amount of food I would bring. Soon, the search for a storefront restaurant began. That was a 3-year process. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has not been smooth. There are many challenges facing the restaurant industry under normal circumstances. We had to figure out how to thrive during a pandemic. We kept working and tripled business in 2020 during the pandemic. Though, I would not pretend it was easy. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
We are on a mission to save the world one delicious plant-based meal at a time. We are challenging the myth that vegans only eat grass or “rabbit food.” Let’s Vegan A New Way. We want you to think different about vegan. You have to experience it for yourself. 

We specialize in veganized versions of American comfort food (burgers, subs, salads, smoothies, etc). 

We are a unique brand and a community-oriented mission. 

We are proud that we have built a loyal following. We appreciate everyone that supports our family business. We also believe we are helping people make healthier food decisions that are better for themselves and the world. 

We would like readers to know we are opening an event space in early 2022. The focus will be community and education-oriented. We will have monthly presentations that revolve around showcasing artist, discussing mental health & well-being, diet, nutrition, and plant-based/vegan options. The event space is called Refocused Space – The Perfect Place to Get Refocused. @refocusedspace on IG & FB 

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
I have not found a mentor, but I have mentored several people and businesses. 

The best advice is be teachable and have a growth mindset. Be humble and ask for help. Be a lifelong learner. 

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Image Credits:

Jerel Refocused

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