Siblings Serve Up Vegan-Friendly Fare

Sisters Heather and Jenny Goldberg strive to bring inventive vegan cuisine to events.

By Rosalba Curiel March 12, 2008, 11:22 AM EDT

Spork Foods's Heather (left) and Jenny Goldberg

Photo: Zen Sekizawa for BizBash

Family Practice: Although Heather and Jenny Goldberg grew up in the same household, it wasn’t until the sisters took off for universities in different cities that they each decided to go vegetarian, even cutting out such animal byproducts as eggs and milk. After college, the pair moved in together and eventually channeled their shared interest and diverse skill sets to launch a catering company, Spork Foods, last June.

Heather, an operations and administrative coordinator for the environmental nonprofit Tree People, brings business savvy to the operation, primarily handling logistics: coordinating classes, catering jobs, and media outreach. Jenny, a former freelance chef who trained at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Foods and Culinary Arts in New York, is in charge of the kitchen. “We cook our food with love, but we also want people to have high energy after they eat—we want to get them on the dance floor,” Jenny says. “If we cater an event, we keep food and flavor in mind first and foremost, but we also strive to use ingredients that aren’t going to make you feel sluggish.” In addition to catering, the Silverlake-based company also offers cooking classes for corporate groups as well as dietary consultation services.

Retooling Tofu:
“We really wanted to take the 1960s and ’70s stigma of boring brown rice, tofu, and broccoli out of our food and make it very playful, fun, and accessible to everyone,” Heather says. Indeed, the Goldbergs’ variety of dishes—think Mexican and Southern cuisine and chocolate Kahlúa donuts with a cinnamon glaze—tend to surprise people, regardless of their dietary leanings. For events, Jenny can shrink dishes like her fig-and-sage tarts with roasted garlic aioli into bite-size hors d’oeuvres, or create a custom menu to fit a planner’s vision. At a summer fashion show at Apartment 3, she served her take on the hot dog (a bun, pickle, and meat-substitute kebab paired with chipotle ketchup and maple-bourbon mustard), and for an art show at the Circus Gallery, she created giant cookies that doubled as installations.

Her creative take on vegan ingredients led Vitasoy’s western regional sales manager of produce, Phillip Moreland, to seek Jenny out when presenting the company’s products to grocery stores Ralphs and Albertsons. “Tofu is tofu, but Jennifer took it to another level, where it was easy for the everyday person to eat tofu because it’s healthy and to enjoy it at the same time,” Moreland says. In what he cites as a rare outcome, each grocery chain bought every item featured in the presentation.

Vegging Outward: While the Goldbergs are focusing on catering intimate events for now, they hope to expand soon to a bigger venue, where they can continue to teach and take on larger-scale private and corporate events, as well as in-office catering gigs. They are especially interested in green events, as they use local, organic, and mostly seasonal ingredients.

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