ROANOKE, Va. – In the two years of doing Tasty Tuesday, we’ve never visited a place that focuses solely on vegan food. We’re giving it a try with the woman who knows how to do it best in the Roanoke Valley.
Shaqueena Snyder, a.k.a. Chef Queen, is the owner of Queen’s Vegan Cafe. She says going vegan a few years ago came down to two things.
“Making sure that I’m a better human being for my little one. Hearing about the things they were putting into our food, it just kind of turned me off.”
As she made this lifestyle change, she realized there were many other layers to it. A chef by trade, she started Queen’s Vegan Cafe and made sure to never sacrifice flavor. She also teaches people, “Holistic remedies that you can prepare at home and still be flavorful.”
She adds, “That’s my whole thing. We do not want to be vegan and miserable. Basically what I do is season my food as if it wasn’t vegan. Knowing that I personally enjoy this and sharing it with Roanoke, I was like…they’re gonna enjoy it, you know?”
It’s really quite the creative process. On her menu, she features nuggets, tenders and chickn’ and waffles. The chickn’ is oftentimes a mushroom substitute. Put it in some wet and dry batter, cook it in oil and voila!
You can dip that in any four of her homemade sauces, or you can put it on a sandwich, just like you would with her King’s Ransom Burger. She says that for a, “Patty or something, I could do a black bean patty.”
The colors of each dish really pop out at you too, making it all the more appetizing. Snyder says one of the cool parts of her experience is that 80% of her customers aren’t vegan.
First-timers will usually say something along the lines of, “I didn’t know that wasn’t meat. They are literally flabbergasted.”
Make sure to follow ‘The Queen’ on Facebook or Instagram to see where she will pop up next. Snyder goes to festivals around the Roanoke Valley and, in the past, has done a lot of education on how to go vegan without giving up good taste.