216: Donna Jean, Part 2

with Roy Elam and Tony Howe


Roy Elam and Tony Howe are two of the badass creative geniuses behind San Diego's rustic comfort-food restaurant, Donna Jean. From sauces to doughs and everything in between, Roy, Tony and the rest of the staff make everything in house.

On Episode 42, Roy talked all about where the concept of Donna Jean came from, and his inspiration behind it.

In this episode, Roy and Tony talk about the concept behind Donna Jean and how they've managed to get more people eating more vegetables. They also explain a bit about fermentation; what it is, why they do it, and how they're combating food waste with it!

Donna Jean:

Website: https://donnajeanrestaurant.com/ 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/donnajeanofficial/ 
FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/donnajeanofficial/ 

Pizza Class (Jan 14th, 2020), to reserve a spot, email: donnajeansd@gmail.com 

More about Donna Jean:

SEASONAL. SUSTAINABLE. PLANT BASED. RUSTIC. COMFORTING; These five words best describe the direction of Donna Jean. This restaurant is a concept that chef Roy has been dreaming about for the past few years and, now that it’s here, they are excited to be doing something special...something from the heart and that will be felt by their guests as soon as they walk in the door.

Donna Jean was the name of chef Roy’s mom. She died at the young age of 55 from aggressive breast cancer and he believes it absolutely could have been prevented if she would have been given the knowledge and resources to seek out a plant based diet earlier in life. This gave him a passion to create something that would not only have made her proud but to introduce a form of plant based cuisine that even the most stubborn meat eaters can appreciate.

That being said, this Donna Jean is NOT a health food restaurant. Their goal is to start a conversation about what plant-based cuisine can be, and hopefully that will set the wheels in motion for a larger movement.

They want Donna Jean to be an everyday restaurant; a place in the neighborhood that is inviting and feels like home every time someone walks through the door.

More about Chef Roy Elam:

Chef Roy grew up just outside St. Louis, Missouri in the cornfields of Illinois. Home-cooked meals, summers on his grandma’s farm in Southern Ohio, travels as a touring musician, and life in San Diego, Los Angeles, and just outside of Portland, Oregon, all shaped his culinary vision.

As the former head chef of SunCafe in Studio City, CA, his cast iron Mac’n Cheese won accolades and was named ‘the best vegan mac and cheese ever” by the Huffington Post. While working for Matthew Kenney and Executive Chef Scott Winegard at Plant Food and Wine in Venice, CA, he honed his craft, helped them win the Most Sustainable Restaurant Award, and got the chance to travel to Bahrain where he assisted in opening that country’s first vegan restaurant.

Now Chef Roy has returned to San Diego to open his own signature dinner house in loving memory of his mother, Donna Jean.


The Noma Guide to Fermentation: https://www.amazon.com/Noma-Guide-Fermentation-lacto-ferments-Foundations/dp/1579657184 
JR Organics: https://www.jrorganicsfarm.com/ 
San Diego Tempeh: https://www.sandiegotempeh.com/ 
Santa Monica Farmer's Market: https://www.smgov.net/portals/farmersmarket/ 
Central Milling Company: https://centralmilling.com/ 
Veg'n Out: https://vegnoutsd.threadless.com/

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