Kaitlin Magno was a military brat. Born in Maui, Hawaii, she’s bounced around the United States—Nevada, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas—and even spent time in South Korea before moving to San Antonio. So it’s no surprise that she’s seen—and tasted—a lot of different food. Throughout her family’s treks, there’s been one constant: cooking for others. “Cookouts with friends and family are a big thing in Hawaii because we enjoyed getting together and sharing all types of dishes including Japanese, Filipino, Chinese, Korean, as well as Portuguese,” she says.
But one thing that sets Magno apart from her heritage is plant-based cooking. In 2016, her perspective on the meat industry changed drastically, after viewing documentaries like Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, and What the Health. Magno was vegan for a few months, but it didn’t work perfectly for her. Today, she identifies as flexitarian—mostly plants, barely any meat. Reducing meat gave Magno more energy, less brain fog and bloating, fewer breakouts, and better sleep. The one thing she couldn’t leave behind? Cheese. “Vegan cheeses don’t replicate the exact flavors. Plus, cheese makes everything taste better.”
Magno started her food blog during the height of Covid in 2020. She was a stay-at-home mom, became really bored as the days began to blend, and was searching for something fun and inspiring to do. Enter Phokmeat. Pronounced fuh-k-meat, it covers all things plant-based and heritage-inspired, from Hawaiian-style poke bowls to vegetable stir fry noodles or vegan kabayaki unagi (a traditional Japanese eel dish). The gorgeous imagery and straightforward recipes will inspire you to experiment with plant-based cuisine and sample new flavors.
Favorite veg? Brussels sprouts. It’s funny because I used to hate them until I learned to cook!
Go-to meat alternative? Impossible brand.
Favorite plant-based milk? Soy because it’s so versatile, especially in Asian dishes.
Are there any good vegan cheeses? For grilled cheese, I like Follow Your Heart American and Gouda slices. They actually melt!
Thoughts on aquafaba as an egg replacement? It’s great when you need a good rise in a baked recipe. Other than that, I prefer flax eggs. (Flax seeds replicate eggs when one tablespoon is mixed with 3 tablespoons of water.)
Favorite plant-based snack? Roasted chickpeas.
Where do you shop? I buy produce from Adams Fairacre Farms. For Asian ingredients, I love Welcome Oriental Grocery in Poughkeepsie.