5 Questions with CEO Lloyd Vassell
After 30 years in the Media, High Tech and Consumer Goods industries, LLOYD VASSELL - CEO of Vassell Foods and Arawak Farm -- ultimately created a line of healthy, tasty, vegan, low sodium, low sugar and spicy Arawak Indian-inspired products conceptualized by both he and his dad who was a chef.
BFiO: Whose food in Oakland do you enjoy as much as your own?
LLOYD: I like Judoko Sushi, which has always been my go-to food. I can make everything else (my dad was a chef), but I don’t attempt sushi. Other than sushi, my family and I order from Farmhouse Thai, Everett and Jones and Smokin Woods BBQ.
BFiO: What food do you think is overrated?
LLOYD: If done right, nothing is overrated. Good ingredients and flavors are inherent in any style of cooking. When you don’t have them, your food will be bad.
BFiO: What’s missing in the Oakland food scene?
LLOYD: The Oakland food scene is growing dramatically, but I would like to see more butchers, fishmongers and other artisan food entrepreneurs. With Pican gone, I would like to see more high-end eateries owned by minorities.
BFiO: At what local markets do you shop for ingredients/food?
LLOYD: Mandela Grocery Co-op for fresh produce/ingredients and also local farmers markets. I also grow and use a lot of citrus, fruits, and vegetables from my own backyard.
BFiO: What does The New Normal look like for Oakland restaurants & food businesses in the age of COVID-19?
LLOYD: Vassell Foods is growing right now because we have been approached by companies looking to work with minority-owned companies. This is a good time to firm up business operations, marketing collateral and inventory to be ready to jump at opportunities when they arise during The New Normal.