A Local Chef and Content Creator Wants You to Fall in Love with Eating Plants

Through her new namesake brand, Dommi Raye is hosting tea and dinner parties that educate folks on plant-based diets
dommi raye
Through Dommi Raye the Brand, plant-based chef, herbalist, and food blogger Dommi Raye is hosting tea parties and brunches dedicated to plant-based foods. // Photograph courtesy of Dommi Raye

Most kids — and even adults — are not fans of eating their veggies; Detroit native Dommi Raye was not the exception. Yet as an adult, leading a plant-based diet has become an imperative part of tending to her chronic health conditions, and it’s a lifestyle that Raye wants to share with others in metro Detroit.

Raye, who is a plant-based chef, herbalist, and food blogger, recently launched Dommi Raye the Brand, through which she will host tea parties and brunches that provide small bites and education on plant-based diets. And through Dining with Dommi (her project within Dommi Raye the Brand), Raye will throw dinner parties where she’ll cook and serve three-course meals. On her blog, she shares her vegan and plant-based recipes (who knew Heart of Palms could be prepared in a way that tastes like fish?), as well as her fashion favorites and beauty rituals. She also raises awareness about hidradenitis suppurativa, a chronic condition known as “HS” that causes painful lumps in areas where skin rubs together.

Earlier this month, Raye hosted Dommi’s High Tea — her first public event under her brand — at health and beauty shop The Beaute Loft in Grosse Pointe Woods. Dressed in fancy hats and ensembles featuring bright colors and floral prints, nearly 20 guests enjoyed vegan and plant-based foods such as finger sandwiches made with cucumbers and chickpeas, blueberry muffins, angel food cake with fruit, and chocolate and mint brownies. The several tea options were all blends made by Raye herself, featuring ingredients she researched that aid in boosting immunity, reducing inflammation, and clearing congestion. Raye plans to host her next tea party this summer and will launch her podcast — Deliciously Dressed with Dommi, where she’ll invite guests to talk about health, fashion, current events, and more — in the near future.

dommi raye the brand tea party
Guests — including Hour Detroit editor Rachael Thomas (back right) — enjoy plant-based eats at the Dommi’s High Tea event earlier this month. // Photograph courtesy of Quatiece with LXVE Media

Raye spoke to Hour Detroit at the tea party about her experience with plant-based eating and why she’s cultivating a local community focused on wellness, luxury, and holistic foods.

Hour Detroit: Can you tell us about your journey to becoming an herbalist and plant-based chef?

Dommi Raye: It’s funny because as a kid, I didn’t really eat [vegetables]. We ate green beans and lima beans and broccoli. But when I was diagnosed [with hidradenitis suppurativa] in 2010, I said, “OK, I need to do something.” So, I gave up beef and pork. From there, I moved on and I was a pescatarian between 2015 and 2017. When What the Health came out in 2017, I said, “I’m cutting everything out; I’m going to give up animals.” I started eating more vegetables, playing with flavors and things because I just didn’t like them. But I noticed that there was a difference in my skin, a difference in my health. And so, I just started researching. Because going to the doctor, they just give you antibiotics and they say, “Just go.” …I wanted to figure out how do we put [HS] in remission? I started working with Queen of Greens, [aka chef Lauren Von Der Pool]; she has a [workshop called] Eat Yourself [Sexy]. It’s a 21-day journey where the first week you do 20 percent cooked [foods], 80 percent raw [foods]. And the next week is completely raw. The last week is liquids. So, that really changed my life and it drove me deeper into herbalism.

So, what does your diet mainly consist of now?

I do a lot of greens because that chlorophyll in the greens is what keeps our body replenished. I do sea moss. I do root vegetables; so, a lot of beets because beets are good for the blood. I do nuts and seeds. I try not to do processed [food]; I try to eat pretty raw. Being in Michigan is hard because it’s so cold most of the time that our crops are different. So, typically during the spring and summer, I’m eating probably 60 percent raw. I cook with flowers; I love it. I get flowers from a farm in California. I like salads. I’ll turn pad thai into a raw pad thai. I’ve made raw spaghetti — that was interesting. And lots of fruit, lots of berries for the antioxidants.

dommi raye food
The Garden of Eden dish, which Dommi Raye served at a private client luncheon, includes micro greens, oranges, watermelon radish, berries, dragonfruit, beets, micro tomatoes, edible flowers, and a dijon vinaigrette dressing. // Photograph courtesy of Dommi Raye 
What led you to starting Dommi Raye the Brand and curating these experiences?

I have always been a creative. As a kid, I always wanted to throw events with my mom. Easter was our biggest holiday; [my mom] would do raffles and all types of games. And I just love it. … I think that for me when I developed HS and started finding the community, everyone’s so sad. [But] life is luxury. And I think we should treat ourselves like that. So going to nice events where we’re just going to have tea and chickpea sandwiches; we get to dress up and listen to nice music. It’s a whole vibe — that’s really what made me want to do this.

What do you hope people take away from your efforts to create a community focused on nutrition and healing?

Dommi Raye the Brand is my love child to the world. I want everyone to be wealthy and healthy; that’s my goal. I think that for so long, we struggled in the Black community. And I think that it’s great that this plant-based and vegan environment is coming to fruition.

For more information, visit dommirayethebrand.com.

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