Pinky Cole's Secret For The Perfect Vegan Burger Comes Down To The Sauce - Exclusive

Vegan burgers get a bad rap — and Slutty Vegan is here to change that. The Georgia-based restaurant chain has received an outpouring of success while offering meat alternatives to the classic burger. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Pinky Cole, the fast-casual establishment's owner, revealed the secret to the perfect vegan burger. Slutty Vegan uses popular plant-based brands Beyond Meat and Impossible Meat but has "started to diversify the proteins" due to the current volatility in the food and beverage market.

In addition to a meat alternative, Cole's restaurant franchise offers a special "Secret Slut Sauce" — with undisclosed ingredients that the businesswoman conjured up herself. The restaurant owner revealed that she never attended culinary school but "put things together that tasted really good." When it comes to a flawless burger, Cole elaborated that optimal taste comes down to the ratio of the sauce. "It's all about quantity and portion control," she said. 

It's all about the science

"There's a certain amount of sauce that goes on the burger," Pinky Cole told Mashed. Cole explained that the key to peak flavor is to make sure that the sauce is "evenly shared" on each burger. "It's not just a dollop," the entrepreneur continued, after recently being recognized on the Create & Cultivate 100 List. "There's a science to it, and when you get the science down, you've created a perfect Slutty Vegan burger."

Cole elaborated that food consistency is one of the hardest challenges to overcome when expanding in the restaurant business. According to a study in Scientific Reports, meat alternatives are often bought alongside beef and pork — negating the purpose of lessening the Earth's carbon footprint by eating plant-based. There is further speculation that the trend of plant-based meat in fast food might already be dead, but Cole seems to have dodged the inflation bullet, as she shared that her "restaurants are still booming" — presumably because customers keep coming back for the Secret Slut Sauce.

Learn more about the 2023 Create & Cultivate 100 List, or head to Slutty Vegan's website to check out its offerings. Keep up with Pinky Cole's latest projects on her Instagram page.