Following Your Heart and Tantalizing Your Taste Buds


Following Your Heart and Tantalizing Your Taste Buds

Following Your Heart and Tantalizing Your Taste Buds


I ended up getting on [The Great American Baking Show] which was crazy… went over to London and shot for six weeks and just had the time of my life. When I got home I was like, I don’t want to go back to doing hair. I feel like this is my actual calling, like this is what I should be doing. And it was from that moment on that I kind of started transitioning my hair clients into food clients. – Chris Tucker

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Chris Tucker: 0:00
And so I went through this submission process, ended up getting on the show which was crazy got on the bake off, went over to London and shot for six weeks and, you know, just had the time of my life, had never been to the UK, and when I got home I was like I don’t want to go back to doing hair. I feel like this is my actual calling, like this is what I should be doing, and it was from that moment on that I kind of started transitioning my hair clients into food clients. So I started doing baby showers and making cakes for people’s birthdays.

Ella Magers: 0:39
Hey there and welcome to Rise and Thrive with me, ella Majors. I created this high vibe podcast from a place of profound curiosity, fierce compassion and the deep desire to connect you with the wisdom of inspirational wellness, health, fitness and conscious leaders and change makers. Here’s to discovering our blind spots and embracing life as the adventure it is. The time is now. Let’s do this. Hey, hey everyone, ella here and I just need to say that I feel so damn lucky to be able to connect with so many fascinating, unique and authentic human beings by hosting this show, and I really couldn’t be more grateful to be able to share these powerful and playful conversations with you. Today’s episode is no exception. I can’t wait for you to get to know Chris Tucker, a Southern chef at heart who is dedicated to making luxurious baked goods and succulent meals without harming animals. Chris is all over the media and in the celebrity scene. You can see him on the judging panel of Pealed, the first all vegan culinary cooking competition show, and he’s appeared on countless daytime programs such as Inside Edition, california Live and ABC’s On the Red Carpet. He was featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine for Pride Month and provided vegan desserts for Elton John’s Oscar party and Stephen Tyler’s Grammy party. How cool is that? As a private chef in Los Angeles, chris believes he can influence people to incorporate more plant-based meals into their daily diets by showing them how simple and delicious it can be. With charity at his core, chris is constantly partnering with organizations like PETA and the Humane League, while continuing to look for other ways to join forces with local and national organizations to bring a smile and resources to people, community and causes in need. We both dive into his incredible story and also get some practical tips for veganizing dessert recipes in this episode. So, without further ado, let’s do this. Chris, it’s so great to have you here. I feel like I already know you. I mean, when I’m like doing the prep for these things, I’m like, oh my god. And then we know Shabnam. I mean, yeah, any friend of ours is a friend of mine.

Chris Tucker: 3:12
Yeah, we have a lot of people in the same circle, so thanks for having me.

Ella Magers: 3:16
Yeah, my pleasure. How actually do you know Shabnam so?

Chris Tucker: 3:20
Shab and the vet. The three of us kind of became really close only a little over a year ago, which is kind of crazy, because we did a project together called Pealed, which is the first all-vegan culinary cooking competition show, and we just kind of bonded really quick on set and then once we left set, we just we were like okay, so like let’s stay connected and we just started doing like Instagram content and just like became family really quick and it just stuck and we’ve been really close ever since.

Ella Magers: 3:54
That’s amazing because I would have never guessed it had only been a year, because I see your content all together. And you know, when I met her, I met Shabin last June at the Vegan Women’s Summit for the first time, but we had a mutual friend who else is in LA and her and I just hit it off immediately so she’s been on this show. And then when I asked her for an intro for Babette, she’s like oh well, don’t you know about Chris? And I’m like well, yeah, let’s get him on too. So yeah, it’s like a family affair. Yeah, that’s kind of really just work.

Chris Tucker: 4:25
Yeah, and that’s kind of how we are. We’re like, oh well, if you’re doing that, then we should all do that too, and we’re just kind of like always just trying to support each other. And I think it’s weird, though like in the vegan space, when you meet people, you automatically kind of start at a level that you don’t with other people normally, or even before I was vegan, you would meet people and you don’t have that baseline connection, right. But when you’re in the vegan space, you’re starting off with like so many similarities. It’s very easy to connect, but I feel like the three of us connect in a different way. Yeah, yeah.

Ella Magers: 4:59
No, it’s interesting. You said that because, well you know, I turned vegetarian at the age of seven and vegan at 15, I’m 43 now and my whole life I kind of felt like there was something wrong with me and my inability to really connect with people. And it wasn’t until now that I’m just in all these vegan circles that I’m like you know what? There is something really bonding about just this lens through which we see the world. That do you know what I mean?

Chris Tucker: 5:26

Ella Magers: 5:26
Did things shift for you in terms of you know how you related to people once you went vegan? How did that?

Chris Tucker: 5:34
It’s interesting, I think, like when I first went vegan, I really probably didn’t pay. It’s weird because a lot of people when they first go vegan, they’re like they’re angry, right, Like the angry vegans. They want everyone around them to go vegan right away. And I don’t think for me it was really like that. I think I was probably very similar to you, where I was already vegetarian. The dairy was the last thing that I was kind of holding on to, and I had transitioned from the South, and so we ate a lot of chicken, a lot of barbecue. You know, we ate a lot of meat. So for me, I stopped eating those things at a younger age, just for health reasons. I was very overweight as a kid, and so I remember going to the doctor and the doctor being like, oh you know, your weight was 240 pounds or 220 pounds, and I’m like I was in eighth grade, I’m like that’s not right. And so you know it was at that point that I was like okay, I’m going down to chicken and fish. You know, cut out red meat, cut out pork, and I kind of started my journey then. Right, it took me a long time to get to where I am now, but I don’t think that I went into that like angry vegan stage until a little bit further down, which I’ve only been vegan for about five years, and so for me I’m probably in a little bit of that angry vegan stage now, but I don’t really ever put it out there, right, I get kind of angry in my brain and in my spirit, like I’m like why don’t you guys see what I see? all of the science is there. Especially nowadays Like now, it’s so easy to look at the science. 20 years ago we had none of these scientific reviews that were going on. We had done the evidence to back up. You know what the crazy vegans were saying. But now all of the science is there, and so for me I’m just like just watch this documentary and you know, make your own choices after that. You know, I think, when it comes to finding that alignment with people, as long as people are willing to listen, I think that’s fine. Like, if people are open to listening and making small changes, that’s kind of all I ask of them. Like, if you can stop consuming meat three times a day and maybe you swap a plant based dish in once a day for one of those meals and you start there, cool, I’m not going to yell at you, you know from my pedestal if you’re making changes, because a lot of people, I feel like, just don’t want to make any changes. They don’t want to make any sacrifice, and we live in a world right now where there’s so much suffering an animal level, a human level, especially an environmental level where we all have to make a little bit of change somehow.

Ella Magers: 8:14
Right For the good of the collective, like even not thinking about animals for those who aren’t quite connected there. But all right, yes, and I want to dive into some parts of your story and I want to talk about your entrepreneurial journey, because that’s always of interest to me. I’m being an entrepreneur. But first I have a little lightning round. Are you up for it? Okay, yeah of course, all right. What’s your go-to vegan butter? Milkos. I knew you were going to say that A fun fact or quirk that most people may not know about you.

Chris Tucker: 8:41
I was a hairstylist for eight years. That’s what I did, okay.

Ella Magers: 8:45
What are three of your healthiest habits?

Chris Tucker: 8:49
Three of my healthiest habits. If I commit to something, I always follow through. If I don’t want to do something like go on a hike or go to, you know, pilates class, which are pretty much my two forms of physical activity If I don’t want to do them, those are the days that I definitely go do them, because that means that I need them. What’s the third one? I try to incorporate as many plants into my daily diet as possible, and so I know that might sound kind of crazy because I’m vegan, but you can be vegan and eat completely no plants at all during the day, and I know that’s probably crazy too, but yeah, I try to eat as much like, as many like living things throughout the day as possible.

Ella Magers: 9:31
Love it. What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to being your healthiest, happiest self at this point?

Chris Tucker: 9:39
Probably getting off my ass, off my phone and outside. That’s probably my biggest thing.

Ella Magers: 9:46
What’s a pet peeve or something that is a little triggering to you?

Chris Tucker: 9:51
Wildly enough. Being in the food space, I can’t stand hearing people eat like the sound of people’s like food moving through their mouth, while they’re like salivating and stuff Not for me.

Ella Magers: 10:02
There’s a word for that and I was interviewing Tony Okamoto and she has that too because I was asking her how to eat ramen noodles, because she loves ramen. I’m like, oh my God, every time I eat ramen it’s like a disaster zone, you know. And she said she’s got that same thing and there’s a name for it, and I can’t think of it, you don’t know, do you?

Chris Tucker: 10:19
Yeah, it’s actually a thing where you don’t like certain sounds from a bunch of different things, right? So it could definitely be the food thing, but there’s like an actual disorder. My friend has it.

Ella Magers: 10:30
Oh, wow, okay, Learn something new. Alright, last one. It’s your last day on earth. What do you eat as your final meal, including your dessert?

Chris Tucker: 10:39
Mmm, I would probably have some delicious pizza for sure, and then for dessert I probably want some type of really scrumptious cake.

Ella Magers: 10:48
Yeah, Flavor Are you chocolate or vanilla?

Chris Tucker: 10:53
I’m kind of open with flavor. Yeah, I’m very versatile when it comes to flavor. I’m not like hardcore sold-on chocolate, but I would never push it away and then, like I could do a fruity flavor, but I could also. I’m kind of like a pretty basic, like give me a vanilla cake with a nice filling, and I’m sold on that too.

Ella Magers: 11:10
All right, all right. And are you a frosting lover? Do you like the frosting part or the cake part?

Chris Tucker: 11:14
Cake part. I’m a minimal frosting. Yeah, minimal frosting.

Ella Magers: 11:18
Yeah, okay, good to know. All right, that was fun. All right, I want to talk about your journey to better with butter, which I love saying. I’m sure you hear that a lot. And first of all, I know you’re kind of love or passion for food started young, and did you call your grandmother Mimi? I did so. I did too. My Mimi died just a year ago, a day before her 100 first birthday, and she was a firecracker to the day she died. She was amazing, so it must be something in the name. Must be something in the name Because, yeah, so you kind of found your interest in food and when you were young, how did that progress and turn into an actual business? Because that came much later. You thought you were going to be a hairstylist or you were, but that’s where you thought you’re going. Can you talk a little bit about that and the journey to LA?

Chris Tucker: 12:07
Yeah. So I had both sets of grandparents, my mom’s parents. Mimi, she taught me everything I know about baking and I was kind of the only grand kid that was actually in the kitchen with her, like ever really interested in it, and so it was a lot of time where just her and I were bonding. And when she passed away actually when I was in eighth grade, and it was from like that moment where I started doing all of the Christmases, all of the birthdays and like anything that she would normally bake for, I started filling in. And so my other set of grandparents. They were actually restaurant owners and so whenever it was a holiday from school or anything of that nature, we would be at the restaurant, in the kitchen or helping on the floor. And that’s kind of where all of these passions for food my family is always revolved around food, right, like whenever there was some kind of holiday or whenever it was somebody’s birthday always revolved around sitting around a table full of food. Graduate high school, thought I wanted to be a hairstylist, move out to LA, go to hair school, do hair for eight years, like at the first couple, never really like, fell in love with it, and all along I was posting on social media like the bakes that I was doing and just different little cakes and things. My husband is in the entertainment industry and somebody from his casting days reached out to him and said hey, you know, they’re casting for the bakeoff. Do you think your husband would ever be up for it? And so I went through this submission process, ended up getting on the show which was crazy, got on the bakeoff, went over to London and shot for six weeks and, you know, just had the time of my life, had never been to the UK and when I got home I was like I don’t want to go back to doing hair. I feel like this is my actual calling, like this is what I should be doing, and it was from that moment on that I kind of started transitioning my hair clients into food clients. So I started doing baby showers and making cakes for people’s birthdays and just doing little kind of like side gigs. But I transitioned completely away from hair and started my own company where I just really was passionate about what I was doing for the first time in a long time.

Ella Magers: 14:16
That’s amazing. And I talk about passion and then we talk about a calling. Do you see a difference in the two of those?

Chris Tucker: 14:23
I mean, I think, yeah, I do. I do because a passion can definitely be something that you’re doing every day, that is fulfilling to you, that you’re making a living from. Maybe you’re not making a living from it, you know. Maybe your passion isn’t something that’s providing an income, but then your calling might be to help underserved communities or helped. You know animals and they might not actually align, but you do both.

Ella Magers: 14:52
Yeah, and I’m curious. So, and when you turn vegetarian, what about your family? I haven’t really heard you talk about were they on board with it? Did they just say, okay, do what you got to do what was?

Chris Tucker: 15:02
Yeah, I mean so when I was still living at home, I was definitely still like eating chicken, I was still in the pescatarian phase and it wasn’t until I moved out to LA, started living on my own. But I was really more on that journey to where I am now. So, yeah, I don’t know how much of that was influenced by my surroundings. You know I was in Florida at the time. Florida has a great vegan community, but where I was growing up and just the people that I was surrounded with, it wasn’t really something you know in my foreground.

Ella Magers: 15:33
Yeah, you know I love to explore kind of the powerful chapters in our lives and big aha moments and realizations, and one of those, I’m assuming, was you also coming out. Yeah, when did that happen and what was that experience like for you?

Chris Tucker: 15:47
Yeah, that was a really interesting one because it happened, I believe, when I was 18. So I think I was still in high school. I may have been out of high school, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I remember my mom just sitting down with me and she had gone to my sister and asked my sister if do anything that she wanted to share. My sister and I have an 18 year age gap, so I would go over to my sister’s house and I would spend the night with her and I did have a boyfriend at that time. I was in high school, as a matter of fact because now I’m thinking back on something I haven’t thought of in a really long time and I would go over to my sister’s house and I would spend the night and that’s when I would see, you know, this guy that I had been dating, and so she was like mom if you have any questions, you should probably just ask chris and so my mom sat me down and she’s like you know, like what’s going on, and I grew up very religious. I grew up in a very religious, you know, family and it was really difficult at first. They didn’t really know what to do with it, you know, and how to process it. So it took some time for them to Come to terms with it, but once they did, you know, it’s been a really great Relationship with my family these days, like my mom and my dad, like they love and support my husband, like it’s just really wonderful. And I think that it took my mom. My mom actually was working in the nonprofit sector and she actually worked for this massive church in Orlando and One of the people that were on staff at the church was actually a lesbian who had a wife, who had kids. Really, and it took my mom seeing this woman have a completely normal life, right, and so I don’t think back then people really understood like, oh yeah, you couldn’t get married then, but you can get married and you can have children and you can create a family and it’s just another way of life. And I think it wasn’t really until my mom saw that mirrored in somebody else’s life, that she was like, oh, I get it. And again it was also unpacking all of those biblical teachings that you know Were just horrible translations of the actual bible and not fact and just coming to terms with all of that. So it was definitely a journey, I think you know. For me it’s a constant journey to just kind of living comfortable with myself and feeling like I am who I’m supposed to be.

Ella Magers: 18:22
And so if I asked you who are you, you know, beyond all the accomplishments and this Amazing bio and the celebrities and these, I want to talk about some of these desserts for elton john’s oscar party. I mean, how incredible is that? But beyond all of that, I mean you’re being. Who are you like? How would you describe who you are?

Chris Tucker: 18:42
Yeah, I mean, I think I’m somebody who is just Just compassionate, that has always had like just a really big heart for other people, and I think that you know, even now, knowing where I am as you know, a vegan who is into animal rights and just advocating for the underserved regardless I think that my parents can look now and be like this all makes sense, like just because of how I used to be with my dog as a kid and how I used to just connect with animals on a different level and just with people. I was kind of always with the underdogs, you know. And so it makes sense now for me to kind of be in the position that I am, feeling like I’m just kind of here to serve others. You know, I feel like I always kind of want to be the person that Says you know, you’re welcome, but what can I do for you now, you know? And so I feel like I’m just somebody with the mind of service and somebody who just wants to help people.

Ella Magers: 19:39
Love it. Okay, so back to the great american baking show. Experience Was that? I mean, this is a big show. You’re in front of the camera. How did that feel to be on that show, and what did you kind of learn about yourself? What did you take away from that?

Chris Tucker: 19:52
It was crazy. It’s a big experience. It’s a really big experience that you know, I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity. I had never been on camera, I had never been In front of cameras, I had never done any kind of instagram video, so for me it was just, it was all brand new. But it was really funny because that was actually the time that I realized that I enjoyed being on camera and that I liked it and that it wasn’t a scary thing for me and that, you know, I’d always done theater and like high school and done performing arts when I was younger, but it was never like on camera, it was just all stage stuff. So being in the tent really showed me that I’m able to do big things and I can set goals and accomplish big goals. And so I think for me it was you know, no, I didn’t win the season that I was on but looking back now and seeing everything that I’ve been able to do since then and the impact that I’ve been able to have, it’s because I went into that tent and I realized that I was able to do big things.

Ella Magers: 20:56
Amazing. All right. So you get back to LA. You’re like, okay, my calling is food. You start to transition your clients and then how was this company born?

Chris Tucker: 21:06
Yeah, it was kind of born my husband’s from the east coast and Betta with butter just kind of feels like something you would hear somebody say like, oh well, that’s better with butter. And you know, I think that a lot of times in our space we think that a lot of times in the vegan world we think that there’s like things that we have to give up or that we take away, and so it just it’s kind of a symbolism that like Nah, you could still have it, it’s better with butter, you know, like we can still do it. And so, yeah, it kind of just blossomed from, started a website putting recipes up there and Kind of went from there became something where I could showcase what I had going on and different outreach projects that we were doing and a place where people could come and order cakes. And we started a cake initiative over Quarantine when everybody was kind of locked inside. We realized that like there were kids celebrating birthdays that would get birthday cakes because businesses were closed and parents were out of jobs. And so we started the cake initiative, which was giving people free birthday cakes who were, you know, in need at the time. And that initiative spread globally and we started doing it in different parts of the world and around the us, which is different home bakers who wanted to get in on the project and I think that’s what people should realize like my platform was very small at the time but it was with a small platform that one person caught on and another person caught on and just to feel good movement like started because people wanted to do something that was kind for other people.

Ella Magers: 22:41
Amazing, okay, and you said that dairy was your last thing to go and I know you were kind of also a little unsure of can you do these things without dairy and eggs, and what was it that finally kind of changed your mind about that and had to go all the way?

Chris Tucker: 22:57
Yeah. So what finally changed my mind was watching what the health. We watched a documentary and you know, I was even somebody who would like make my husband a steak, or like a pork chop, and so I wasn’t even somebody who was like no meat in the house. You know, I was very like whatever about it, and he was the one that we got to cut all of this out, like we got to just quit, and so it was after that that we literally went to the refrigerator and just cleaned it out and that was it. And we went from there and I figured it out, figured out how to do it, and it was actually really exciting for me, because after a while you get into a process where you’re like, okay, a cake, a cake, you throw some ingredients together, you know what to do, but then when you’re like, wait a second, I don’t know what to do now because I’ve taken my eggs out, and butter is very easy to replace, but it’s the eggs in every recipe where you’re like, wait a second, what do I do. It became fun again because I was learning all over again.

Ella Magers: 23:56
All right, we say that about baking, throwing some things together, but from my personal experience, baking does not work like that, because it really is like a science, and I just read the book the Alchemist and so I’ve got alchemy in my head. I mean, baking is not an easy task. Yeah yeah, like, and you got interested in it when you were a young kid, but I mean, it’s like scientific, but the fact that you had kind of, you know, mastered it in a sense right, and now you got to say, hey, now I get to experiment, and that you saw it as more of an adventure and a challenge. Do you want to give us some tips? Like, while we’re on this topic, about the egg thing, Because I know I do the flax things. You know, I don’t even try anymore, I blend. You know I do nice cream. That is my only dessert that I make, chris Nice. Just letting you know, yeah, because you just blend it and it’s just like okay, how much milk do I add? Or you know how much milk, or whatever. But yes, can you give us some tips?

Chris Tucker: 24:54
Well. So the egg replacer is a really interesting thing because it’s different from every single bake you’re trying to do right. If you’re making a cookie that cause for an egg yolk, you can just take it out, Like you can take that egg yolk completely out of the recipe and you don’t have to do anything else to it. A lot of different cookie recipes that actually call for eggs. You’d be surprised that you could just completely eliminate them and replace the liquid in that egg. So most eggs are about 50 grams of peas, so most recipes will call for two eggs, which is 100 grams. So if you’re just going to eliminate those eggs from your cookie recipe, the only thing you want to do is replace that liquid in your recipe with an additional 100 grams of liquid. So that’s cookies. When it comes to cakes, the best thing that you can do for cakes is baking soda and apple cider vinegar. So baking soda, just like when we were in elementary school and we did the volcano with the eruption and it was all different colors. That’s exactly what happens in a cake, and so if you are trying to take your eggs out and replace it, you’re going to typically do that with baking soda and a little bit of acid, and so I do that by using apple cider vinegar. Usually for a cake, it’s about one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to about two teaspoons of baking soda, and that’s pretty much all the leavening agents you’ll need for the entire cake. That would be for about, you know, a regular eight inch size cake. That’s simple and like it’s really simple when you get it right. It’s about getting it first. That is the challenging part.

Ella Magers: 26:40
That is so great, like that is so clear, and I will try it. I will get myself back in the baking game for just one try, I think. But the aquafaba can we talk about that for a moment, because it’s so crazy? I mean that ingredient has been around forever and yet in the last you know, just year or two, really. I mean it’s everywhere. Can you talk about when you discovered how that works and how you use it?

Chris Tucker: 27:06
Yeah, so I use aquafaba as like the replacement so you can make macarons out of it. If you went vegan and you’re like, oh, I’m never going to have my favorite French macaron again, you can, you can make it out of aquafaba. You can use anytime you’re needing like an egg white replacer in a recipe. Aquafaba, 90% of the time, if it’s whipped up properly, is going to do the trick. So, yes, that’s a great one and I think for me like thinking of a recipe off the top of my head I use it in my brioche recipe, because brioche is an enriched dough that you’re going to have eggs and butter, and so I use it as the egg replacer and my brioche recipe and that’s typical. That was my like aha moment for aquafaba was when I was creating my brioche recipe and I learned that actually through a baker who’s not vegan, out of Australia and she’s one of my good friends and she had a bakery and she just kind of created what she called allergy friendly baked goods. So she had a whole line of allergy friendly products in her bakery and, yeah, I learned that little trick through her.

Ella Magers: 28:12
So interesting, All right. Another question I just thought of. I mean, you look very much fit in shape, not overweight. How do you bake for a living and stay lean?

Chris Tucker: 28:24
So I don’t do a ton of baking right now for, like you know, just to play around back in the day, I would do like baking for the Instagram, and that was hard. I did a lot of giving away of baked goods and my husband was going to the office at the time and so I would send him to work with like a ton of things. But now I don’t do a ton of it and I’m really into using, like this morning I just shot a pancake recipe, so it’s, like you know, it’s full of protein plant powered protein and I sweetened it with banana and dates. So, you know, for me it’s really about, like, if it’s something that we’re consuming, you know, for ourselves. I do try to be mindful because, you know, I’m constantly trying the latest chocolate on the market and I’m constantly trying, like, all of the latest goodies that are coming to market, and so I do have to be mindful that you know what I’m eating, because overweight is definitely in my blood, and so I do have to be very conscious of what I’m putting into my mouth and how much I’m exercising on a daily basis, or I won’t look fit and lean you know, so for me, it’s all about moderation. It’s constantly in the back of my mind, you know I think somebody who used to be very overweight as a young person. You know, it’s something that lives with me to this day, and I think about every single thing that goes into my mouth. The difference is now is that I feel enjoyment when I eat, and so I don’t necessarily. It’s almost like a good awareness instead of, like you know, feeling bad about what I’m eating. It’s a good awareness.

Ella Magers: 29:59
It sounds like you have a really healthy, at this point, relationship with food and your body and you’re mindful about it, and when you do make a choice, it’s a conscious choice, and so if you’re going to eat a piece of cake with, you know, real sugar or whatever, you’re choosing it and you’re going to enjoy it and you’re not going to beat yourself up about it and you’re going to be mindful. Yeah, that’s amazing. So you use the banana and dates as sweeteners. Any other tips on baking with, maybe, alternative flowers, like, instead of a light all purpose flower, any tricks, you know, because all these different flowers have very different textures and work differently. Any little ones that you can give us.

Chris Tucker: 30:37
Yeah. So something like the Bob’s Red Mill one to one gluten free flour, that’s a really great replacement and just your standard baking stuff. So if you’re looking to do like cookies or a cake or even I use that when I’m making glasses if I’m making something like on the stove that needs flour for thickening, or if I’m making like a roux, you can even use that gluten free flour and it works identical and like cooking recipes. So that would be my biggest one because it’s the most. I would say no fuss, right Like you can get really technical and really fancy and buy all these separate flowers to make your own gluten free blend. That’s going to have no grit to it and, you know, be amazing, but you really have to have some time under your belt when it comes to baking. So for me it’s that one to one baking mix from Bob’s Red Mill. That’s probably the best. You can also like the pancakes that I made this morning that I’m going to be doing a video, for it’s just ground oats and so that’s the flour that I’m using in these pancakes, and so simple swaps like that for things like pancakes or waffles, you can still enjoy it right and not feel like, oh, I just had a plate of pancakes for breakfast. No, you actually just had oatmeal for breakfast and you prepared in a different way.

Ella Magers: 31:56
I love that. Do you enjoy making those types of videos for Instagram, or is it more of a pain in the butt than anything? I’m curious.

Chris Tucker: 32:03
No, I do. I like it, I like making content. I think it’s fun, I enjoy like recipes that taste like normal food, like normal pancakes, but they’re healthier for you. And so I think I wish we had these resources when we were young, like we didn’t have the inner webs the way that people do now, and so I think it’s cool that we get to be helpful and show people like different ways of doing things that can give you a better outcome, that don’t require sacrifice.

Ella Magers: 32:34
And I did see on your Instagram. Your Instagram is fabulous, by the way. Thank you. It’s obvious that you actually enjoy making those videos. I also saw you did a collaboration with V-Dog. Can you tell us about Sis? This is your dog.

Chris Tucker: 32:48
Yes, yeah, our dog, she’s eight, so we rescued her when she was six months. So we’ve had her for seven and a half years now and she’s a little baby. She kind of rules the nest around here, but yeah, she’s a little everything.

Ella Magers: 33:03
Yeah, and is she plant-based now?

Chris Tucker: 33:05
She’s not plant-based. She was back in the day we had her on a plant-based diet for a while. But yeah, we did incorporate meat back into her diet, probably maybe four years ago.

Ella Magers: 33:15
Got it.

Chris Tucker: 33:16

Ella Magers: 33:18
And so can you talk a little bit about how you provided vegan desserts for Ellen and John’s Oscar party, like, how amazing is that? I mean, are these all connections that you made at first through your hair styling, or how did this all come to be?

Chris Tucker: 33:31
Yeah, no. So I actually got an opportunity to do this program with Good Morning America. It didn’t end up happening, but with that like project that was going on, I had to source like a massive kitchen. And so in the works of sourcing that massive kitchen, I met this woman who bakes bread for like everyone in LA, and I was going to rent the kitchen out from her and she wanted to introduce me to this gentleman and I was like, okay, cool, he happened to be there one day. His name is chef Wayne and he actually does out in John’s Oscar party every single year. And when she first told me this I was like, oh, come on, like this lady’s just blowing steam, you know, up my butt. And I met him. He got my information. He had sampled my cookies that day without me knowing he was there like earlier and told me you know how great they were. And then he ended up calling me like a few weeks later and saying that he had a gig for me and the gig was out in John’s Oscar party and he wanted me to provide all of the vegan desserts for it. And so that was, I believe, four years ago. So you know, it was just kind of one of those very LA moments of in the right place at the right time, met chef Wayne and, yeah, I’ve done some really cool projects with him ever since.

Ella Magers: 34:55
And so does Elton John for his parties. I mean, he’s not vegan as he just wants to provide desserts. Is this an LA party thing that they always have the vegan desserts there, Right?

Chris Tucker: 35:06
Yeah, it’s a LA party and so you know it’s one of those things where you come, there’s like a red carpet, there’s an actual viewing of the Oscars and then after the actual Oscars is when all of the celebrities come from the actual Oscar show, because it’s a really big night for him to raise money for his AIDS foundation that he runs. So you have to like say, yes, I’m coming and I’m a vegan or I’ll have the vegetarian dish, it like going to a wedding, right, got it. And so we know there’s like 150 vegans coming, got it.

Ella Magers: 35:37
Okay, yeah, okay, okay, I get it. And then you did Stephen Tyler’s Grammy party too.

Chris Tucker: 35:43
So Stephen Tyler actually he had a party I believe it was the week following the Oscars but he has a charity called Janie’s Fund that raises money for some organizations that I believe it’s like in dedication of his daughter. So, yeah, I was able to provide some things for them as well. Amazing.

Ella Magers: 36:01
Amazing. So, speaking of charities, where are you focused on these days and moving forward? What projects are you working on?

Chris Tucker: 36:08
Yeah, working a lot right now with PETA, trying to really just walk a little bit more with them this year and figure out some more projects to get involved with through their organization and also just really trying to stay cognizant of these community fridges that we have here in Los Angeles, a project that I did towards the end of the year with the company called Board Cow. They’re a milk alternative company and they reached out to me and they were like hey, we do this every year. We would love to have you stock one of our fridges and it’s a nationwide thing. So no matter where you live, you can just go on your computer and type in you’re in Miami, you can type in Miami Community Fridge and it’s going to show you like wherever there’s community fridges in your area. And for me it’s like the really easiest way to be a direct source for people that are dealing with food insecurity. And so even since I’ve done the project with Board Cow, we’ve just been trying to pass by this one specific community fridge as frequent as possible. I think we all kind of overbuy at times at the grocery store and it’s just really easy to be a little helpful in that way. So I’m going to be trying to work a lot more with that company that places the fridges around town and it’s just a really easy way, especially around holidays, to provide food for people who are food insecure and to help out as much as possible. Amazing so are there any?

Ella Magers: 37:38
final thoughts you’d like to share, or how people can find it and they can order from your website if they want to order baked goods.

Chris Tucker: 37:45
Yeah, so the easiest way is to reach out to me on Instagram. Vegan chef Chris Tucker and I don’t have a ton of stuff that’s for sale right now on the website, because a lot of it is more. I’m doing a lot more like in-house catering these days and more events and things like that. I’ve kind of gotten away from doing all of the shipping that I used to do, but, yeah, I would love to connect with people on Instagram and go from there.

Ella Magers: 38:12
Chris, I hope to get to meet you in person one day soon. I’m sure I’ll make a trip out to LA at some point. It’s been so wonderful speaking with you. Thank you for being here.

Chris Tucker: 38:22
Yeah, you as well, or we’ll be in Miami for something plant-based this year, I’m sure.

Ella Magers: 38:27
I hope, so Hopefully we’ll get some sun for you, because we have a crazy weather. But yeah, yes, I’m sure We’ll meet up soon, awesome, Thanks, Ella. Thank you. Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of Rise and Thrive with me, ella Majors. I truly hope you found it inspiring and, if you did, please help me spread the word by leaving a rating and review on your favorite podcast player and by sharing the show with your friends. As you probably know by now, my life’s purpose is to use my voice to make this world a more conscious and compassionate place, and your reviews and shares make a huge impact. And last, I’m getting a ton of insanely positive feedback about my short and sweet monthly newsletter called the Way Short, for the Way Out Is Through. I give my top five latest badass discoveries, insights and explorations, like vegan products and recipes. I’m obsessed with books and shows I’m loving and workouts that have me fired up. Head on over to my website, ellamajorscom, to sign up and check out all the other awesome resources I have for you and projects I’m involved with, including Hogs and Kisses Farm Sanctuary, where our mission is to create the best life for farm animals while inspiring compassion for all living beings. Thanks a lot, and I’ll see you on the next one.


I ended up getting on [The Great American Baking Show] which was crazy… went over to London and shot for six weeks and just had the time of my life. When I got home I was like, I don’t want to go back to doing hair. I feel like this is my actual calling, like this is what I should be doing. And it was from that moment on that I kind of started transitioning my hair clients into food clients.   – Chris Tucker


Join us on a delectable journey with Chris Tucker, the vegan baking maverick who whisked his way from hairstyling to the heart of the culinary scene.

In this candid conversation, Chris unveils his transformation, sharing stories of his grandmother’s influence, the rush of competing on The Great American Baking Show, and the birth of ‘Betta with Butter’.

His personal anecdotes extend beyond the kitchen, touching on his path to veganism and the importance of embracing one’s true self.

This episode is a feast for the ears, seasoned with tips for veganizing desserts and Chris’s adventures from his TV debut to crafting plant-based delights for the stars. The aroma of charity work fills the air as we explore his contributions to PETA and community fridges, and the sweetness of his global Cake Initiative.

Chris’s story is a testament to following your passion and the joy of finding fulfillment in unexpected places.


Official Bio: 

A Southern Chef at heart, Chris’s vegan journey began four short years ago when he discovered making beautiful baked goods and succulent meals could be achieved without harming animals. Chris’s menus range from dessert spreads of perfectly balanced buttercreams slathered atop delicate sponge, the most perfect cookies and countless flaky pastries. His savory side will make the purest of meat eaters change their ways when dining on one of his Six-Course Plant-Based meals! He uses the best quality, locally sourced ingredients like farmers market produce and only the freshest spices available. He spends much of his time creating and testing recipes for his private clients.

    When Chris isn’t in the kitchen, he can be found inspiring other chefs with his curated content through his digital platforms and on-camera appearances. In fact, he can be seen on the judging panel of Peeled, the first all vegan culinary cooking competition show streaming now. Chris has appeared on countless daytime programs such as Inside Edition, California Live, and ABC’s “On The Red Carpet.” He continues to advocate small dietary changes through other LIVE segments with Tastemade, Amazon and Pinterest while demoing his plant-based craft. He was featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine for Pride Month and recently provided Vegan Desserts for Elton John’s Oscar Party for the third year in a row. He also did the Vegan Desserts for Steven Tyler’s Grammy party, which was a fundraiser for Janie’s Fund.

    Chris was recently the head of culinary for The Hollywood Climate Summit which is a four-day event in Los Angeles that merges climate activists and the world of Hollywood. As a private chef in Los Angeles, Chris believes he can influence people to incorporate more plant-based meals into their daily diets by showing them how simple and delicious it can be.  With charity at his core, Chris is constantly parting with places like PETA and The Humane League while continuing to look for other ways to join forces with local and national organizations to bring a smile and resources to people, communities and causes in need.



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