Where to Eat Vegan in Central Florida: Orlando; Imo’s Bakery and Kitchen

Photo Credit: Igot_theshot

Florida; the prettiest state in the south, the front door to the Caribbean, the only state that is a peninsula and sits on 2 coasts: the Atlantic coast and the Gulf coast, thousands travel here to visit the happiest place on Earth, and the art capital of the world is located at the bottom of the peninsula in Miami.

So much of the world comes to Orlando, FL; home of Disney, Universal, Sea World, and many more attractions. Food here is abundant and from all over the world. While many visit for the attractions, many visit for a journey with food. Coming here is visiting the world by way of plate.

You see, a lot of Florida’s magic rests in being able to eat from all over the world and especially the Caribbean. Most places in America don’t have a Korean, Mongolian, Jamaican, Trinidadian, Haitian, Puerto Rican, or Cuban restaurant within hundreds of miles. Here in Florida, especially Orlando, this is generally all around the corner, and while standing inside of a Jamaican restaurant, having views of Korean and Haitian restaurants next door to each other. This peninsula is amazing!

On a Florida winter morning, I met up with another magical business bringing many cultures together via plate. Early in February 2024, I met up with Imo’s Bakery founder and owner to grab my box of baked goods. And I mean gooooooood! I knew I was getting bakery menu items, but I had no idea what the box held. I was beyond pleasantly surprised when I discovered a:

  • Strawberry Roll: topped with strawberry icing that looks super sweet BUT was perfectly sweetened and amazingly good! 
  • Mocha Latte Roll: topped with mocha latte flavored icing and tastes like a trip to the coffee shop where one orders a latte and a baked sweet to go with it. Delish!

Photo Credit: Igot_theshot

  • Classic Roll: not your typical cinnamon roll and I loved that! The perfect amount of sweet in flavor is a packed roll; nostalgic. 
  • Fudge Brownie: beautiful, moist, and delicious. I had to pull myself away from it to have some for later. 
  • Carrot Cake Scone with Pecans: my favorite item in the box! This shocked me! I’m sort of a carrot cake snob and I thought the brownie was going to be my favorite but, I took one bite of this scone and…. it was gone in one sitting and I’ll be ordering a box of these soon!

Photo Credit: Igot_theshot

Imo’s also has a kitchen where they create flavorful plates inspired by countries around the globe. I haven’t experienced a kitchen menu item yet but that will change soon!

The 11th < Where to Eat Vegan with the Traveling Cannabis Writer>  features Imo’s Bakery and Kitchen! Get to know them through founder, owner, and chef: Mina Everett-Breconidge.

Q& A with the Owner and Chef of Imo’s Bakery and Kitchen, Mina Everett-Breconidge

Photo Credit: Imo’s Bakery

Where are you from, where your family is from, where you were raised?

“I was born in South Korea, my fathers side of the family is mostly from St.Marys and Folkston Georgia, but I was raised in Orlando, FL.”

What did you do for work or other businesses owned and worked prior to Imo’s Bakery/Kitchen?

“I’ve been in the food service industry since I was 16 years old. I’ve done it all from a dishwasher to a line cook. Eventually I became a pastry supervisor. The business that I was working for at the time closed down, so I went into customer service because that was the quickest job I could find. Meanwhile, I was also hustling, working Uber. It was an unexpected turn in my professional career, but that experience provided a ton of learning lessons that I use for Imo’s Bakery.”

A little insight into the 10 year old you, what were your hopes and dreams?

“10 year old me was all about art and music. I would sit in my room blasting the radio and sketching. Growing up wasn’t easy for me, so I found solitude in the escape of art. At that age my only hopes and dreams were to become a famous artist so I can sell my artwork for a lot of money and live in a mansion or high rise condo in peace.” 

Photo Credit: Igot_theshot

Cooking and meal creation, when did this start for you? 

“Cooking and baking has always been something that I was interested in. It’s been a core thing of mine since I could remember. I was cooking full meals by the time I was eleven or twelve. Cooking is a major thing in my family. 

I would watch my grandmother bake all the time and would make her write down the recipe! She thought I was playing at first, but then I would keep asking her for the recipe so I can make desserts just like her. From there I would watch my dad cook our daily meals. 

He would explain to me what he was doing and explained the process of how it’s made. They would let me help, and eventually take charge of more and more dishes. I remember that I used to collect recipes in magazines so I could make them. My grandmother would save some for me too.. LOL!”

When did you know you wanted to feed others?

“To be honest probably about 6-7 years ago. Even though I’ve already been professionally cooking, it didn’t dawn on me how my creations impacted other people. I viewed it as creating the best that I can to make the company look good. I was so used to upper management taking all the praise for my work, and found it to be a thankless job. 

While I was working in customer service and doing Uber, I decided to sell plates of food to my co-workers. The positive feedback made me feel so proud, and my orders were increasing weekly. That’s when I really realized how much people enjoyed my food. It built up my confidence to turn it into a business.” 

What’s your favorite thing to create and feed others?

“Everything and anything new. I love creating new dishes and I want people to try them!” 

When was the concept born and what was the reason(s)?

“The concept of Imo’s Bakery is something that has evolved over time. I can’t say exactly when it was born but I wanted to start something that could serve the Kingdom of God by serving everyone food through love. All I want to do is break bread like Jesus said!” 

What was the official birthdate of Imo’s Bakery/Kitchen?

“October 2022”

What is the mission and core values of Imo’s Bakery/Kitchen?

“To create good tasty food for everyone to enjoy! No matter what your background is or who you are, when you come to my booth I want you to feel like you’re coming into my home for a good home cooked meal.” 

Photo Credit: Igot_theshot

What are 3 things people should know about Imo’s Bakery/Kitchen?

“ 1. Everything is 100% vegan. I create tasty food and desserts that everyone can enjoy. I have many non vegan customers because my food is simply that: Amazing Good Food!

  2. The name “Imo” is a homage to my biracial heritage. Imo is one of the ways to say “Aunt” in Hangul (Korean). On my black side of the family all the eldest aunt’s are the greatest bakers in the family. Imo’s/Auntie’s Bakery is my way to honor my ancestors who came before me and a way to pave a new path for future generations to come.

  3. Our food may be a lil bougie sometimes, but that’s all right! It’s nice to experience the finer things in life… LOL!”

What inspired the menu and offerings?

“I love making flavor combinations that aren’t often replicated to create a unique palatable experience. I love floral notes which can be used in several applications, if done correctly. People will see many florals used in my dessert menu. I started off just doing cakes, but have now expanded into making cinnamon rolls and seasonal pastries.”

We have now adopted the addition of food that comprises Korean, Caribbean, and African American Soul food dishes. The goal is to represent the cultural relevance in a dignified way. American culture has deemed Ethnic and Indigenous foods a cheap fast food option; however, the complexity of flavors and contributions to societies should be celebrated and held in the highest regard.” 

What kinds of plant proteins do you all use?

“Whole plant foods. Beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, certain grains like quinoa and microgreens/greens.” 

Photo Credit: Imo’s Bakery

Are any of your products locally sourced?

“Yes they are! I try to get the majority of my produce from local farmers/growers. I also use herbs from my organic garden.” 

How do you all feel about cannabis for wellness? 

“I think it’s a good thing as long as people aren’t abusing it. I think Cannabis is a great resource for people to use.”

Any hemp offerings on your menu/as an ingredient now or plans for the future(hemp seeds/milk/protein)? 

I don’t use hemp ingredients in my menu only because of how closed minded people are. For some reason people don’t want to understand certain things and I can’t make them. Hemp is a great source of protein that I consume in my personal diet.” 

Have you learned anything about cannabis recently that surprised you? 

“I would like to learn more about using cannabis in cooking applications. I’m not a huge consumer of it but would love to tap into the industry. I watch shows or read up about it when I can. I would love to implement cannabis in my menu. Not just for the high effect, but there’s so many flavors and benefits that different strands can provide.”

Final Words

Visit Imo’s Bakery’s site and/or social media to stay up to date on where you can catch the booth/van in Orlando and surrounding areas. 

Photo Credit: igot_theshot

Veronica Castillo is a published writer known as the Traveling Cannabis Writer. She was born and raised in Miami, and recently retired from road life after 5 years of traveling the United States and the Caribbean on a mission to learn and educate on all things plant medicine. Though her body of published work is mainly in cannabis, Veronica is passionate about plant based lifestyles. She lost 95 pounds, began her healing journey, and treated her migraines with a plant based lifestyle. 

Her Where to Eat Vegan Series explores vegan menus and plates, helping travelers navigate their plant based lifestyles on the road.  Follow her on IG at @vee_travelingvegcannawriter and LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vee-traveling-veg-canna-writer/ 

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