Today we’d like to introduce you to Diana Taylor and Meghan Berke.
Diana the founder and Executive Chef of Plant power Pop-Up was born and raised by theatre actors in New York City until 1989 when her mother moved the family out to Los Angeles where she attended grade school in Beverly Hills. Diana was an aspiring actress well into her 20’s, but had more success as a waitress, casting assistant and concierge at a number of well-regarded New York hotels. In her late 20’s, following the death of her beloved grandmother, she decided to make a career change and move back to California and go to Culinary School to pursue her lifelong passion. In 2005, Diana attended Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, graduated top of her class and started her career as a Chef. She has worked at some wonderful restaurants in L.A including A.O.C and Primativo Wine Bistro in Venice, CA and as Executive Chef of various catering companies throughout L.A until a few celebrity clients made it possible for her to go out on her own and start The Take Home Cook, her own catering business and food delivery service. After her first child was born she slowed down her business to raise her daughter.
Meghan the co-founder and Event Coordinator for Plant Power Pop-Up was born in NYC and raised in the Berkshires. She began acting, modeling and waiting tables in her teens. In 2000, she packed up all her belongings and bought a one-way ticket to Los Angeles. Over the next decade she worked at several prominent bars and restaurants. In 2011, she began a domain brokering company with her husband.
Diana and Meghan met at a Mommy and Me class in Pasadena in early 2015. We recognize immediately that we had so much in common! Similar backgrounds, passions and dreams and daughters the same age with the same name-Zoe. We bonded over mommyhood, plant-based documentaries and the modern refinements of cannabis and became wonderful friends.
Diana: “I was hungry to get back into the culinary world and had the idea to curate a pop-up dinner for friends in late April of this year. I wanted to experiment with all forms of cannabis and see what happens when you pair them with food. I didn’t infuse anything, only paired some of my favorite cannabis products (vapes, edibles and flowers) with a modern 4-course seasonal, local vegetarian menu. The result was magical. And the idea of the pop-up was born. Meghan helped me with the first party and we quickly realize with our unique skills we would make a great team. The day after the first party we became business partners.”
Meghan: “We felt that we had tapped into something profound. The combination of the intimate setting, the delicious food and the newness and excitement of cannabis is a winning combination. We started to envision these pop-up events, where all types of food, cannabis and hemp businesses would be able to represent their brands, educate guests, share/sell their products and tell their stories. Then we would pair everything in unique and exciting ways.”
So we added sponsorship to the mix to give these small businesses a forum. We have been creating relationships with some incredible cannabis brands like Curiously Cannabis, Kikoko and Namaste Organics among others. We all love the idea of working together to help each other grow professionally and personally. The cannabis industry is a remarkable, close-knit industry and at its core is about helping lift each other up. We feel grateful to be a part of this magical community while also getting to share thoughtful, healthy, natural products with our guests.
Diana on Food: “My inspiration for the menu and the theme of each dinner has always been influenced by our senses and the elements. Terpenes play a huge roll in the expression of the meal. What we smell and how it effects our mood (our body and our brain) is our greatest guide so we are able to use that experience to hone in on creating the best cannabis and food pairings we can. What we discover through the aroma and flavors in the plants terpenes and in food directly informs our palates and we give our guests the chance to participate in that awareness. It’s mindful eating at its best.”
Our mission is to celebrate the beauty and wellness of plant-based sustainable foods and to help change the culture of cannabis through education and awareness while putting on an exquisite dinner party.”
Has it been a smooth road?
Starting a new business is challenging in general but adding food and cannabis to the mix is an even harder road to travel. We’re establishing ourselves in a fairly new climate for this kind of business. The cannabis community has been very open and kind to us, however, we are newbies and we’re all just getting acquainted.
The compliance laws that went into effect in July threw us for a loop and our initial business model. A lot of the marketing budget these companies had to work with went into re-packaging their products so there is less money for advertising and sponsorship at this time.
We will continue working with small businesses despite the setbacks financially. We believe a collective is a shared vision and we want everyone to feel encouraged, supported, strengthened and enriched when they work with us. We know this movement is bigger than us and we want to build and grow with it.
Even though our public monthly “Flower Power Friday” dinners are predicated on sponsorship we also offer private catered parties and company buy-outs. If you are looking to have a private event and invite your own people, sponsorship becomes less of an issue but it’s also a different feeling. We want people to get to experience all we have to offer.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Plant Power Pop-Up – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We are female entrepreneurs and have created L.A’s first traveling culinary cannabis collective, specializing in private dining experiences. We have recently started a Friday dinner party called Flower Power Fridays, where we travel to a different house each month and put on an inspiring 3 1/2 hour event.
We curate seasonal, multi-course dinners and cocktail parties where we pair our food with the finest local, craft cannabis products we feel complement each dish perfectly. We use the freshest produce the season has to offer sourced from local farmers. Because we are plant-based, fruits, vegetables and herbs are the heroes of our meals–so they need to be the best. We endeavor to create a full mind and body experience through our dinners by pairing our plant-based dishes with low-dose craft cannabis. We take the typical dinner party and turn it on its head, so to speak.
We deal in terpenes. In other words, the chemical compounds in plants (specifically in cannabis) that give off aromas and fragrances that have specific effects and benefits to our endocannabinoid system. Studies have shown that terpenes are responsible for the effect cannabis has in the body more than the specific plant itself (i.e. sativa vs indica) and it is also what contributes to the cannabinoids therapeutic effects in the body. For instance, limonene, the fresh citrus lemon scent has an uplifting, happy effect while myrcene which is associated with a dank, forest smell helps lull the brain and body into a more sedative state as well as its antibiotic and anti-inflammatory effects. We take all of this into consideration when creating our pairings.
Our dinners help bring people together to connect through great food and new exciting experiences while also learning about the wonderful, powerful benefits of plants. Guest can expect classic black and white movies projected on a huge screen, a rotating list of guest DJ’s and fun party games designed to get conversations flowing during our ‘Flower Power (Cocktail/Mocktail) Hour”.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
We love how multi-cultural Los Angeles is. It is the diversity that makes the city interesting and dynamic. Each neighborhood reflects a different style, heritage and flavor and we get the opportunity to explore all of these unique places through our dinners because they travel to different communities throughout Los Angeles.
L.A is also very spread out and that is often what keeps people stuck in their own neighborhood.
We often hear people complain they get so tired of getting stuck in traffic that they don’t take the time to explore new neighborhoods. We also hear how hard it is to meet new people and connect. Especially in a time when cell phones and computers keep people distracted so there are fewer face-to-face interactions; it’s getting easier for people to tune out and isolate. This is the culture we live in. We go from our home to our car to our job and back home. We don’t often get an opportunity to get to know new people unless we seek it out.
Our dinners are designed to eliminate those issues. Since we prefer you don’t drive for obvious reasons (car services and/or public transportation HIGHLY ENCOURAGED) and we want you to explore new neighborhoods and meet new people outside of your typical day-to-day existence… we see it as a win win!
- Pricing starts at $75 per person but depends on the party
- Website: www.plantpowerpopup.com
- Phone: 310-254-8609
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: plantpowerpopup
- Facebook: plantpowerpopup
- Twitter: plantpowerpopup
Photographers: Siouxzen Kang and Jonathan Young