Vegan Mac and Cheese Debuts in Hot Bar at 55 Whole Foods

Chef Ayindé Howell—former personal chef for musician India.Arie—hopes to delight children with his vegan macaroni and cheese, a plant-based version of his great-grandmother Mary's time-tested Sunday supper recipe.

Vegan Mac & Yease (macaroni and cheese) will be available in the hot-food bar at 55 locations of Whole Foods Market in the Pacific Southwest region. Chef Ayindé Howell developed the recipe several years ago in Seattle—which he served as a side dish at his then-eatery Hillside Quickies Vegan Sandwich Shop—as a tribute to his great-grandmother Mary’s Sunday supper recipe. Howell told VegNews that his mission is to position vegan food as a convenient and satisfying option, which he said aligns well with the placement of Mac & Yease at Whole Foods’ hot bar—a place Howell frequented while working as musician India.Arie’s personal chef for several years. “Our customers have been requesting vegan mac and cheese options for years, and we couldn’t have found a better partner than vegan chef Ayindé Howell,” Corey Smith, prepared foods coordinator for Whole Foods Market’s Southern Pacific Region, told VegNews. “His Original Mac & Yease is one of the best Southern-style, baked vegan macaroni and cheeses we’ve ever tasted and our customers are going to love it. It’s actually very similar in flavor to a traditional dairy-based macaroni and cheese and has developed a strong fan base around Los Angeles.” Howell hopes to complement existing plant-based proteins with his side dish and appeal to a younger demographic. “So often as vegans in the food industry, we focus on impressing adults,” Howell said. “As a person who grew up a vegan child, I longed for options when I went out to eat and so often couldn’t. I want to give back to that vegan child today, so they never feel hungry, or weird, or left out.” Howell’s original flavor of Mac & Yease will be available starting tomorrow and the chef hopes to add new macaroni and cheese flavors—such as tempeh bacon with jalapeño, black truffle and balsamic, and Buffalo and broccoli—to the line.

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