Todd Erickson is not a full-on vegan, but the chef, who opened Haven and Huahua's in South Beach, has experienced a serendipitous chain of events that have made him one of the most sought-out plant-based toques in Miami.
In the past, Erickson has worked closely with Alison Burgos to cook delicious plant-based fare for Seed Food & Wine Festival events and parties. His veggie burger was also named Seed's best plant-based burger.
Now he's opening GLAM, a plant-based fast-casual concept in midtown Miami, at the end of June. "GLAM," by the way, stands for "Green Living Animals Matter."
Located in the former Midtown Oyster Bar space (3301 NE First Ave., Miami), GLAM is the brainchild of Janette Miller, an interior designer with a passion for vegan living. Wanting to open a restaurant, she sought out Erickson as the consulting executive chef for the project. "Janette emailed me a couple of times and asked me if I would be interested in consulting on a vegan project," Erickson says. He agreed to meet, and they hit it off immediately.
He says Miller is the driving force behind the design of the eatery, a black and white room with pops of plum hues. Erickson was tasked with developing the menu. "Janette wanted something chef-driven that was accessible to everyone, not just vegans."
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The chef describes the menu, sectioned into bowls, toasts, desserts, and snacks, as "organic, flavorful, and craveable. I don't want it to feel like you're only eating it to be healthy. I want it to be warm, hearty, delicious, and satisfying." To assist him in the task, he hired Nuno Grullon (R House) as chef de cuisine. "He loves the vegan options and thinks it's the food of the future. We're excited to have him onboard," Erickson says.
GLAM will also offer a curated selection of affordable vegan wines and beers, and items will be presented on china with silverware — a way of serving that's better for the environment than using disposable plates and utensils. In addition, GLAM staff will be attired in vegan wear — no leather shoes or belts. Erickson says he does a plant-based clothing check before heading out the door himself. "If I'm going to talk the talk, I'm going to walk the walk. I'm a big Chuck Taylor person, so I'm pretty much vegan already."
Erickson says carnivores are also welcome at GLAM. "More and more people are incorporating plant-based foods into their diets by observing Meatless Monday or just eating more vegetables. That's what we want our outreach to be."