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This Arkansas chef puts a plant-based spin on popular dishes

Little Rock is home to a chef who just won a major Food Network competition. What you may find particularly interesting, however, is what she’s cooking up!

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — When it comes to fine cuisine, Arkansas is thriving. So it may not surprise you that Little Rock is home to a chef who just won a major Food Network competition. 

What you may find surprising however is what she’s cooking up! But, before we get to that, you have to get to know Chef Alicia Watson's background. 

Chef Watson is a licensed occupational therapist. Over the years, she has worked with patients who've had some of the brightest doctors, advanced medical technology, and high-quality medicine. 

Throughout her years of caring for patients, she noticed something substantial that was missing from the equation – quality, nutritious food.  

“It's realizing that food is medicine. It can be just as important as your medication or your doctor's visits. It's an adjunct therapy,” Chef Watson said. 

So what makes Chef Watson meals so good for us? Well, they are plant-based. Don’t imagine a boring salad – these are actually versions of the meals we all love, just made with plants instead of meat.  

Dishes like lasagna, tacos, pasta, soups, burgers, and various snacks are all on the menu. Chef Watson's recipes are definitely legit as it was very difficult, sometimes impossible, to even notice the dish was plant-based.

Chef Watson's company, Vito and Vera is a meal prep service – not a traditional food business. You can order fresh cooked meals, delivered weekly. 

In light of recent popularity, the company now sales frozen plant-based meals in retails stores such as Drug Emporium and The Green Corner Store in Little Rock as well as Ozark Natural Foods Co-Op in Fayetteville.  

Chef Watson will readily tell you that she doesn’t eat 100% plant-based, but points to numerous studies that suggest increasing the amount of plants in our diet has a direct correlation to better patient-outcomes.  

Food is medicine. That’s the mantra that propelled Watson to enroll in culinary school and it’s the same mission that landed her on a major Food Network competition only 3 years later-- and she won!  


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