Nothing in the world was better than Mom’s fried chicken! It was Deborah Torres’s favorite treat when she was growing up. Even better than an ice cream sundae! Mrs. Torres oven-fried the chicken and had her secret recipe, and Deborah used it right up until the day that she stopped eating meat. It was such a significant occurrence that she remembers the exact day, July 23, 2008. No surprise that fried chicken was the most difficult food for her to give up. It was among the first dishes that she “veganized.” She persevered through many attempts until she came up with the same perfect texture and rich flavor as the fried chicken of her childhood. Her super-crunchy, super-tender fried chicken is made entirely from wheat protein and a batter flavored by her own secret blend of spices.
Deborah knew she had a winner, so she and her partner Jonathan founded Atlas Monroe (formerly known as Veganation), a plant-based food production company based in the San Francisco Bay Area and shipping their organic, all-natural, plant-based cuisine all across the country. Atlas Monroe provides an amazing dining experience, serving exciting, savory, delectable food that vegans and vegetarians usually miss out on. Deborah and Jonathan’s mission is to demonstrate that a healthy vegan lifestyle does not have to be blah: “If people could eat succulent, flavorful dishes using fresh, 100% organic ingredients without harming any animals, surely they would.”
Deborah and Jonathan serve their vegan dishes at a number of festivals around California and sometimes they venture farther. The National Fried Chicken Festival in New Orleans is a huge event that draws more than 200,000 people. Atlas Monroe was the first and only vegan vendor among the 35 fried chicken vendors. Their Cajun Fried Chicken and Waffles won Best Fried Chicken, beating the non-vegan entries. What a triumph! And it brought them raves from Time’s digital magazine, Extra Crispy; VegNews; and Livekindly. They also served the customers swarming their kiosk Apple Wood-Fired Ribs with their signature BBQ sauce and Garlic Herb Fries.
Their menu, still growing, includes:
- Deep-fried turkey with cranberry stuffing
- Cured bacon with authentic taste and texture
- Bacon truffle mac & cheese
- Dipping Sauces: Sweet N’ Spicy Chipotle, Signature BBQ, and Bomb Honee Mustard
- Sweet potato cake, ultra thick, extraordinarily moist
Imagine having the famous Cajun Fried Chicken, and all the other vegan dishes, delivered right to your door. Then all you have to do is put the frozen chicken into your oven. When it comes out, you have chicken you would swear was fried in a skillet—crunchy skin, juicy chicken. It’s been described as magical!
Deborah disagrees with those who claim that the vegan lifestyle is a passing fad: New vegan eateries are opening every week, not only providing extraordinarily delicious food but also saving animals’ lives and reducing a monumental amount of environmental waste. After all, the chicken industry alone kills billions of chickens annually. Besides, we should also be concerned with how we are killing ourselves with many of our current food choices.