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Renowned Los Angeles vegan chefs open first restaurant Hey Sunshine Kitchen

Sisters Heather Golden Ray and Jenny Engel share what it’s like to be a first-time restaurateur in 2023.


Sisters Heather Golden Ray and Jenny Engel always wanted to go into business together. And in 2007, they accomplished that dream when they launched their vegan cooking school, Spork Foods, in Los Angeles.

Sixteen years and two cookbooks later, the sisters are taking their dream of working together even further with the opening of their first restaurant, Hey, Sunshine Kitchen. With a mission to bring vegan foods to the mainstream and promote the betterment of consumer health, the planet, and animals, Golden Ray and Engel hope the restaurant can become a platform for bringing that mission to a wider audience.

The sisters joined the latest episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches to talk about what it’s like to be first-time restaurateurs in 2023 and how they’re transitioning their business running a cooking school and writing cookbooks into a brand that they hope to scale to multiple locations.

In this conversation, you’ll find out why:

  • A solid stable of recipes lays the foundation for your brand
  • Your menu isn’t the only path to achieving your broader brand mission
  • Patience and persistence will pay off in the end
  • Every challenge is an opportunity for growth
  • You don’t have to measure success by number of locations or size of your profit margin
  • As a restaurant leader, your energy sets the tone for the rest of your team

Contact Sam Oches at [email protected].

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