Since launching her chef career a couple of years ago, Pamela Wasabi has fashioned herself into a food artist. She offers a colorful, refreshing approach to vegan and raw foods that has earned her a special niche in Miami's culinary scene.
This weekend, Wasabi will whip up a Colombian-inspired, plant-based dinner at a charming farm in Homestead to benefit Urban Oasis Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making healthy, local food more accessible.
The five-course, made-from-scratch dinner kicks off at 5 p.m. with a farm tour (the first course is served at 6 p.m.) this Saturday, March 12, at Verde Farm (12690 SW 280th St., Homestead), where Urban Oasis Project grows much of its produce.
Tickets cost $65 each and can be purchased at pamelawasabi.com. Menu items will be paired with beers from Wynwood Brewery, one of the event sponsors. Seed Food & Wine Festival is also sponsoring the soiree.
Wasabi connected with the group through her regular attendance at the Upper Eastside Farmers' Market. "I've always been interested in collaborating with Urban Oasis Project and helping them spread their message about local, organic, quality foods," she says. "They wanted to set up events to collect funds, and I jumped into the picture proposing to do a high-end, all-plant-based dinner. "
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The event menu was inspired by the location — Verde Kitchen Café, a barn-style cafeteria adjacent to one of the farm's gardens. "My style of cooking is to make comfort foods accessible, mouthwatering, savory, and colorful," Wasabi says. "Yet my approach is all about using clean whole foods, making nutritionally balanced dishes, and adding aromatic notes of flower essences and herbs — truly working with nature."
The menu includes a pink mushroom cocktail with tostones (paired with Wynwood's La Rubia); baked
Though the dishes are 100 percent vegan, Wasabi wants people to look beyond that definition. "This is not about being vegan or not," she says. "This is about expanding our mentality when it comes to a culinary art and understanding that plant-based cuisine is just a style of cooking and indeed an art of its own. Just like you have French cuisine and Japanese and Thai, plant-based is a category of its own that demands quality, integrity, style, and presentation. If you like good food, you are in for a treat, and, of course, vegan and vegetarians will be in culinary heaven."
In addition to preparing the dinner, Wasabi has a lot of other endeavors on her plate. She offers meal prep services to clients on a weekly basis, teaches cooking classes, and gives lectures on the psychology of eating, body-mind dynamic, and our relationship with food. She has two lectures coming up in April, one at Bunnie Cakes and another at Choices Café.