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Conversations with the Inspiring Leslie Durso

Today we’d like to introduce you to Leslie Durso.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Growing up in San Diego, I spent my early years, living the Southern California lifestyle outside, playing at the beach, mountains, and deserts. I made the decision to stop eating meat at the age of seven. A bold decision for a girl raised in a large, meat-eating, Italian-American house! I moved to Los Angeles to work as a model and actress and after years of playing fun characters, it was my role of Leslie The Lab Girl alongside Bill Nye The Science Guy that inspired me to move into food education. I traveled the world tasting, experiencing, and educating myself to became a vegan chef. These days, I wear a lot of hats. I am the vegan chef at the Four Seasons, Punta Mita, I do consult for brands and restaurants, as well as lead wellness and culinary retreats around the world. I also host Accidentally Vegan on FabFitFun tv. I find some much joy in feeding people healthy food and inspiring them to enjoy eating plants!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road of life is never a smooth one, but the key is to not let the bumps in the road change your path. I became a vegan chef when vegan was not the popular trend that it is today. There were lots of ups and downs, but I find the down times are the best for creativity and growth in ways you didn’t know possible. The best advice I can give to someone just starting their is journey is: to start. So many people get hung up on what to do and where to go. The most important part is to just start moving. Your career will evolve as your life evolves, but maintaining movement will assure you are always keeping up.

Something I struggle with a lot is imposter syndrome. This career path was not my first one; it took some time to figure out my calling in life. It takes a lot to quiet that voice in your head telling you, you are not ready, you are not good enough. It’s something I wish more people spoke about.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I call my cuisine “accidentally vegan” because I am not intentionally making vegan food. I’m making plant-based dishes deeply rooted in cultures from around the world made in modern ways. I’m most proud of the work I am doing to push vegan cuisine to the forefront of the culinary world.

Another important aspect of my work is to guide people in their journey to find health and life balance. For me, vegan is not just a diet, it’s an entire lifestyle. It’s about living a kinder, gentler life without sacrificing style for sustainability. To me, true wellness is achieved when your mind, body, and actions are all aligned with your beliefs.

Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
There is so much advice I would give my younger self or any women starting a journey! I think the most important is to find what brings you joy in life and do it every day. I believe if you are bringing joy and happiness to others, everything will fall into place. And believe in something bigger than yourself.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Laura Grier Photography, Jamie Dixx Photography

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1 Comment

  1. Bob Paluzi

    January 18, 2019 at 21:08

    A truly lovely person. Very inspiring. Keep up the great work.

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