JWU North Miami Serves Up a Plant-Powered Vegan Dinner

Edible Garden dinner at JWU North Miami
Dinner guests at JWU North Miami’s recent vegan feast, l-r: Lawrence Krug + Sandy Pukel (Holistic Holiday at Sea), Farm Sanctuary’s Gene Baur, President Larry Rice, Amanda Edun, Chef Chris Wagner, Irene Coroalles | Back Row: Julie Frans + Alison Burgos (SEED Food & Wine Festival), Trent Aric (WPLG-10), Jacey Birch (WPLG-10), Jordan Fickess, Laine Doss (Miami New Times) + Robyn Hankerson

JWU’s North Miami Campus runs on plant power, literally: President Larry Rice and master chef Chris Wagner are both longtime vegans. Wagner, a dedicated gardener, oversees the campus’ Edible Garden, which supplies culinary classes with a year-round supply of vegetables, fruits and herbs — including rare varieties like açai palm, sweet edible bamboo, kaffir lime and guava.

The Edible Garden was the location of a recent vegan feast highlighting the creativity and deliciousness of vegan cuisine.

Honored guests at the dinner included:

  • Gene Baur, co-founder and president of Farm Sanctuary
  • Jacey Birch, ABC-WPLG news anchor and animal activist
  • Trent Aric, ABC-WPLG meteorologist
  • Julie Frans + Alison Burgos, SEED Food & Wine Festival
  • Laine Doss, Miami New Times food writer
  • Lawrence Krug + Sandy Pukel, Holistic Holiday at Sea

The Edible Garden was transformed with a long trestle table, hay-bale seating and strings of lantern lights. Diners ate right next to the vegetable beds.

Dubbed “The Primitive Dinner,” the sophisticated, colorful food was anything but. Cooking was done over a fire pit, and JWU students pitched in to bring Chef Wagner’s vegan menu to life — from braised carrots with blue potato chips to fresh-popped truffle popcorn and grilled king oyster mushrooms.

Afterwards, the Miami New Times’ Doss called the meal “outstanding,” using the hashtag #eattherainbow. Farm Sanctuary’s Baur noted that he hoped to be back soon. We certainly hope this is the start of a whole vegan series down at JWU North Miami.

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Photos, top-bottom: A garden tour with Farm Sanctuary’s Gene Baur, JWU North Miami President Larry Rice and Chef Chris Wagner. / JWU students give an assist to Chef Wagner. / Sparkling beverages were served in glass mason jars. / Left: Dinner guests eating at dusk + braised carrots by Jordan Fickess. Right: Portrait of the beautiful braised carrot dish by Gene Baur.

North Miami Vegan Dinner: Taking a garden tour with Farm Sanctuarys Gene Baur, Campus President Larry Rice and Chef Chris Wagner.

JWU students assisting Chef Wagner with dinner cooked over a fire pit.

North Miami vegan dinner: The Bar.

Clockwise from top left: Dinner guests at dusk and plated braised carrots by Jordan Fickess; closeup of braised carrot and blue potato chip dish by Gene Baur.

Topics: Sustainability North Miami