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  • Christin Roper

It's amazing what a step outside of your comfort zone can inspire. Diandra Phipps was working front of house at her friend's busy vegan restaurant, Velo, in Germany when she was first yanked into the kitchen to help with food prep. A self-taught cook, she watched, learned, adjusted and was so hooked she and her partner, Cory Urquhart, were inspired to open their own spot back in Canada. After searching for a space for nearly a year, and making lasting connections by selling prepared dishes at the Alderney Landing Farmers' Market and Local Source, the pair opened enVie on Agricola and Charles this summer. "It's all about planting seeds and letting people make their own decision," says Phipps. "That's why we're here, to show people that the food speaks for itself." Rich dishes like pulled mushroom tacos, a seitan reuben, kale Caesar, a charcuterie board (yep, vegan) and weekly specials like Philly cheese steak, speak loudly and clearly to Phipps', and her co-pilot in the kitchen Lauren Marshall's, creativity. But it's not just about the eating at enVie, it's about the learning too. The resto's recently been expanding its offerings with special Chefs Go Vegan dinners (the next one features guest, The Food Wolf on November 28) as well as cooking classes. "For us we want to give away our secrets," says Phipps. "We want people to really leave with all the info they need to go home and make a transition in their life." --AS

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