Wicked Healthy Interview Series | Timothy Pakron of Mississippi Vegan

Our Wicked Healthy Interview Series features individuals who are making a big impact in the plant-based world and beyond. Today we’re featuring Timothy Pakron—photographer, forager, food stylist and passionate southern chef behind the blog and instagram account Mississippi Vegan.

Taking the vegan food world by storm with his wicked welcoming southern style and gorgeous + comforting dishes , Timothy’s taking it a step further with the recent release of his debut cookbook, Mississippi Vegan: Recipes and Stories from a Southern Boy’s Heart. We’re stoked to sit down with him to chat about some of the influences behind his work, how he’s recently settled into NOLA, and share a recipe from the cookbook!

We’re wicked excited about your cookbook! Can you tell us a little bit about the concept behind it?

Yes! Mississippi Vegan is a cookbook that explores the undercurrent of veganism. I wanted to show people that you can still have delicious southern, Cajun, and Creole food without using animal products. I also wanted to prove to people that it’s not that crazy of a concept to veganize these recipes. Some of them are already pretty close to being vegan! Furthermore, I wanted to show people that you can still recreate these recipes with loads of flavor. I wanted to share recipes that have a story attached to them. It’s basically a love letter to my childhood and my home state of Mississippi. I wanted to the outcome to be emotional, touching, and also funny.

What was one of the most challenging aspects of creating your cookbook? How did you evolve as a cook/food writer from the beginning of the process to putting on the final touches?

Well, my process was a bit different than most because I wrote, styled, and photographed everything myself. This was definitely stressful and daunting, but I wanted to be in control of everything. I also wanted to end result to be as authentic as possible. Basically, this cookbook is like my baby. What happened during this process is I learned how to really write a recipe. At first, I had this vision of using lots of wild and unique ingredients. As I was writing the book, I realized that this would be frustrating to my readers and also make the book inaccessible. So I had to forego all of the wild and foraged ingredients ( well, there are some) and really stick to what most people can get a regular grocery store.

You recently moved from Mississippi to NOLA. What are some of the things you miss most about Mississippi and what kind of new-to-you things have you discovered that NOLA has to offer?

There were a beauty and charm to my neighborhood, Belhaven, in Jackson, MS which I miss. There is definitely a comfortableness there. It’s hard to explain. But I always feel it when I am there. Maybe because it’s where I was born and raised. When I finished my book, I knew that it was time for me to go somewhere else. New Orleans is where I landed and I am totally vibing with the city! There are so many fabulous restaurants and lots of delicious cocktails. What I’ve noticed about NOLA is there is a festive spirit here that’s infectious. There are lots of fun events always happening. Even with all of that, my favorite thing here is still my garden which is just a baby at the moment.

What is your favorite fall dish? We’d love to hear any special memory or story that goes along with it!

I love roasted pumpkin seeds! When I was a kid, my school would always take a field trip to a pumpkin patch. There was something about the gray sky, the burnt smell in the air, and the bright orange pumpkins laying in the field that resonated with me. After carving the pumpkin, my family always roast the seeds which I gobbled up! I love it when a recipe is connected with the process of harvesting the produce!

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