A culinary revolution is underway, combining the vibrant flavors of cultural cuisine with the health-conscious principles of plant-forward eating. At the forefront of this movement is our Founder, Jocelyn Ramirez, a multifaceted talent known not only for her recipe development as a Chef, but also for her commitment to plant-forward living.

As a published cookbook author and New York Times recipe contributor, Jocelyn has made a name for herself in the culinary world while championing healthy food access, as she currently sits on culinary advisory board for Food Forward, and the leadership board for the Los Angeles Food Policy Council. Todo Verde stands as a testament to her vision of a better way to live and eat—a thriving plant-forward Mexican food seasoning company with a mission to infuse authentic flavors into non-GMO, high-quality flavors

In this Q&A, Jocelyn Ramirez is sharing exclusive details about her journey and passions, her best-selling cookbook, and the cultural ties that permeate her products.

Traditional Mexican cuisine is known for its rich flavors and colorful ingredients. How do you maintain the authenticity of Mexican flavors in our plant-forward seasonings?

Jocelyn: Everything we do at Todo Verde is about authentically honoring the Mexican flavors we all know and love. We work with traditional Mexican recipes and use carefully selected plant-forward ingredients that capture the essence of flavors, like smoky chipotle, or the tang of al pastor. We're meticulous about the blends and quality of ingredients we use.

It's a delicate balance, but it's about ensuring that when people use our seasonings, they're not only embracing a plant-forward, quality product, but also enjoying the same taste they've grown up with.

Could you tell us more about the concept of "cultural preservation through cuisine" and how it plays a role in your work?

Jocelyn: As we move into an increasingly plant-forward world, I want to see the flavors I grew up loving preserved. Food is a powerful vessel for connecting, and passing down traditions and stories through generations. Through our seasonings, we're able to keep Mexican flavors alive while aligning with contemporary dietary preferences.

It's about acknowledging that culture and cuisine are intertwined, and by offering healthier, plant-forward alternatives rooted in tradition, we contribute to the preservation (and evolution) of our culinary heritage.

Have you faced any challenges in convincing other people of Latin descent to embrace plant-forward eating?

Jocelyn: Yes, there have been challenges, but it's been incredibly rewarding to see attitudes change over time. Current Latine diets often revolve around animal-based proteins, so introducing plant-forward options can initially be met with skepticism. However, through education and exposure, we've witnessed a shift. We engage in conversations about the health benefits, environmental impact, and the deliciousness of plant-forward Mexican food. We also educate people on the true history of our Mexican ancestors eating plant-forward food.

By demonstrating that we can still enjoy our cultural dishes in a healthier way, we've been able to earn more acceptance within the community.

How do community, cultura, and business intersect in your work, and what role does community engagement play in Todo Verde's mission?

Jocelyn: Todo Verde is a reflection of our community's needs and desires. We actively engage with the community through workshops, dialogues, and food demonstrations, where we not only share culinary skills but also emphasize the amazing way of life that plant-forward eating provides.

It's about creating a positive feedback loop – we listen to the community, adapt our offerings, and in turn, Todo Verde thrives. 

Jocelyn Ramirez posing with her book, La Vida Verde

Jocelyn posing with her book, La Vida Verde


What’s your vision for the future of plant-forward Latin cuisine?

Jocelyn: Across cultures and genres, I see plant-forward food becoming more accessible and integrated into everyday life. We'll continue to innovate, developing new  products (and dishes) that pay homage to our traditions while meeting the demands of a more eco and health conscious way to eat.

For Todo Verde, I see more collaboration within our community, bringing together chefs and entrepreneurs to further elevate plant-forward options. Ultimately, I hope to see Todo Verde offered in stores around the country, and known for its flavors, quality, and for becoming a beloved part of everyone’s home cooking routine. 

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who aim to make a positive impact in their communities?

Jocelyn: My advice is to start with your passion and a genuine desire to create positive change. Identify a need in your community that aligns with your skills and interests. And learn to be adaptable, because entrepreneurship is SO unpredictable, and sometimes overwhelming. 

Engage with your community and listen to their feedback. Remember that success isn't just about financial gain but also about the impact you make. Stay true to your mission, and when faced with setbacks, view them as opportunities to optimize your business and grow as a person.

What are some easy ways people can incorporate more plant-forward foods into their diets while staying connected to their cultural culinary traditions?

Jocelyn: Well, obviously using Todo Verde seasoning, and finding recipes in my cookbook, La Vida Verde! Haha but also: Start by exploring your favorite dishes and finding plant-forward swaps. A lot more of the classics can be easily adapted than you may think.

Experiment with plant-forward substitutes for meat or dairy products, and find plant-based creators on social media to crowd-source fan favorites.

Most importantly, remember that it's about enjoying delicious food that honors your heritage while aligning with your goals for a healthier planet and a healthier you.

February 06, 2024