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Black Tamales for Valentine’s Day: Kat Von D’s Vegan Dinner with Indigenous Chef From ‘Alchemy Organica’ Aims to Add ‘Bruja’ Vibes to V-Day

12:31 PM PST on February 12, 2020

    [dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap] special Valentine’s Day dinner for those who dance with the shadows and like to reflect on ancestrally rooted Mexican food is here, and it will be dripping in red velvet, says collaborator, Kat Von D. 

    The fine-dining event, fittingly titled, “Amor Eterno,” is the first collaboration between Alchemy Organica’s Chef Denise Vallejo, a self-described “bruja chef” that uses plant magic to re-indigenize her mesoamerican-inspired food, and Kat Von D, the vegan duchess of darkness, tattoo extraordinaire, and all-around entrepreneur. 

    The pair met through Instagram after Chef Vallejo recognized one of the dishes Von D’s husband was cooking up on her stories: It was something Vallejo used to cook for Von D when she worked for a boutique meal prep service in 2016 and Von D was a client. It wasn’t until 2018 that Von D visited one of Chef Vallejo’s pop-ups in Koreatown and the two met for the first time. They’ve forged a friendship since then, Von D “has been very supportive of the pop-up,” shares Vallejo.

    Having also attended many of Vallejo’s private dinners in the past, their collaboration was a natural one, and had been in talks for a long time.

    Once the romantic holiday began to rear its head, Vallejo says she told Von D, “Hey, what about Valentine’s day?”

    The idea was complimentary of both their styles and aesthetics, “[Kat] loves everything red. Her shop is beautiful and red and elegant––her style and taste are just so romantic, baroque and really luxurious,” says Vallejo, “I like that too.” 

    The dinner was announced this January 20 on both of their Instagram platforms with a boomerang and short descriptor for the event, teasing audiences saying it would be an “unforgettable” night. 

    January 30, the ticket sales went live, more details revealed an omakase-style five-course fine dining event, wine pairings (from, a photo booth, surprise performances, and more. In less than thirty minutes, the event of thirty seats sold out. 

    To the lucky thirty, here’s what to expect. To the rest of us, here’s a teaser (and here’s hoping this is the start of a collaborative series). 

    Chef Vallejo, who typically weaves astrology into her dinners, leaves that off the menu for the night, and plans on dishing out a greatest hits compilation of her most beloved dishes, using as many indigenous ingredients as possible. 

    “I want to take ancestral dishes, like a tamal and [show] our food is just as beautiful and can be special and nuanced and hold up to any mother sauce in European cuisine,” says Vallejo of her culinary goals with Alchemy Organica. “They ain’t all that, they don’t have the monopoly on gourmet food.”

    One of the dishes at the event is a black tamal colored with activated black charcoal. 

    “It’s kind of witchy,” she says, the charcoal is representative of “shadow,” a spiritual term alluding to the darkness within ourselves. The ritualistic element is symbolic of facing or digesting the darker facets of ourselves in order to detox from them and give way to healing, or light. This concept is representative of Vallejo’s food at-large, intentional at every step, working to create food that speaks to her and her roots to bring about healing, with special attention to ingredient and aesthetic in a mystical way.

    “I want it to be like a ceremony,” Vallejo says. 

    Von D says that’s part of what makes Vallejo’s food so special, “It’s the human fingerprint and intentional art behind it.” 

    Art will be served within art-housed walls, at Von D’s widely-revered High Voltage Tattoo shop, which has hosted a plethora of events from skate-ramp parties to red carpets, but this will be the first dip in fine dining.  


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    Just a handful of seats remain for our Sagittarius ♐️ dinner next Saturday. We’re invoking the expansive Jupiterian energies of Sagittarius with a 5-course, organic plant-based menu celebrating ancestral food ways. Each month our menus change, just as the seasons change, and we are given an opportunity to bring something new to the table—and we aim 🏹 high to create unique dishes. It may be something familiar or it might be something you’ve never seen before. You won’t know until you get there! What we know for sure is that it will be a memorable evening of sumptuous cuisine paired with drinks & lively conversation. To RSVP, click the link in our bio. Tickets can also be purchased as gifts to your favorite Sagittarius or foodie. For that person who has everything, consider the gift of a memorable experience. 💖👁✨ - - - 📷 @moshi_films #alchemyorganica #visionaryplantfood #ancestralplantmagick #pureplantvision #organic #vegan #plantbased #astrogastronomy #astrogastro #astrology #alchemist #supperclub #finedining #vegangourmet #resilience #feedfeed #truecooks #chefdriven #veganfoodshare #plantbasedlifestyle #whatveganseat #losangeles #zodiac #mesoamerica #mexica #hermetictradition #food52 #decolonize

    A post shared by Alchemy Organica ✋🏼💖👁✨ (@alchemyorganica) on

    To add to the experience, Von D teamed up with wedding planner Michele Fox Gott, who designed her over-the-top gothic wedding in early 2018—the idea is to create a small-scale version of it at the shop while executing a high-production dinner. 

    “We’re transforming the entire interior,” says Von D, “Everything is going to be dripping in red.” 

    “We want it to be a really beautiful, visually stunning, appetizing, sensual dinner,” Vallejo says of the forthcoming event, “I appreciate stimulating all of the senses.”

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