Dustin Harder is the host and creator of the original vegan travel culinary series, The Vegan Roadie. Essentially the plant-based version of the popular Food Network show Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives, Harder travels around the world to showcase and taste delicious vegan food on camera. His background in theatre makes him the perfect host, but it wasn’t until after working on a Broadway show in 2013 that he decided to delve into the world of food. On a break from theatre that year, he found himself enrolled in a 6-month Chef’s Training program at New York City’s Natural Gourmet Institute and it was there that he learned the science of preparing amazing food and began to understand the art of being a chef.
“In the middle of the program I thought ‘why am I here?’ and then had my Oprah ‘a-ha’ moment: I decided to mesh my passions for entertainment and food together with the sole purpose of bridging the gap between vegans and non-vegans with my first love, entertainment, and the one thing everybody loves, delicious food. So I set off to do just that and created The Vegan Roadie, and in the process have filmed three seasons of the series, the first two being filmed in North America and the third being filmed in Italy.”
Harder’s journey with The Vegan Roadie has led to many opportunities in the food industry. He’s been able to amplify its reach by working as a private chef, recipe developer, business consultant, cooking instructor and has even authored two cookbooks: The Simply Vegan Cookbook and his latest release, Epic Vegan. Through it all, Harder maintains the same mission in all facets: to bridge the gap between vegans and non-vegans using entertainment to educate, and make plant-based cooking accessible and welcoming to the masses.
“When I started creating The Vegan Roadie things sort of kept falling into place like the universe was whispering ‘yes... go this way, trust it,’ and that keeps happening in little ways. The opportunity to pen cookbooks has been a dream come true and filming the series in Italy felt like a major milestone. The highlights, above all else, have been meeting the incredible people who run vegan businesses that just want to create the change they want to see in the world. These people are putting in the hard work day in and day out so that the public has options to make choices to be better for themselves, the animals, and the environment. It's really a beautiful thing to see people building businesses from compassion.”
There’s a ton of heart behind what Dustin Harder does with The Vegan Roadie, but in order to get his passion for making vegan food and recipes accessible to the masses, he needed the right marketing to amplify his voice. Harder found BeFunky’s Photo Editor over five years ago, and with it, all the tools and effects he needs for editing food photography, creating marketing materials for his books, designing YouTube thumbnails for his show, and making social media posts to promote events. Aside from being such an all-encompassing creative platform for Harder’s business, he loves that it’s so easy to navigate.
“Befunky is responsible for so much of the marketing for my cookbooks and the book tours. I used the Photo Editor to add text to photos for social media posts and book tour events. I also used BeFunky’s Collage Maker to create photo collages to use for Facebook Cover Art and Twitter headers. Between editing my food photography and creating marketing assets for The Vegan Roadie, I think I use Befunky at least seven times a week!”
When it comes to editing food photography, Harder reaches for the Exposure tool to add even more brilliance to his lighting setup, and loves the Clone tool for cleaning up stray crumbs and perfecting the styling. The end result is delicious and captivating, perfect for promoting his recipes on social media. It’s truly a breath of fresh air to see plant-based food look so mouth-watering, and Harder’s recipes are bursting with creativity. Think pad thai cupcakes topped with peanut frosting and lime slices, s’mores cake with toasted (vegan!) marshmallows, and plant-based burgers loaded with tons of delicious, colorful toppings.
Harder also loves how easy it is to add text to photos with BeFunky’s Photo Editor. The Text tool is one that he uses quite often, whether to create advertisements for his book tours, design YouTube thumbnails and IGTV covers, or create social media posts to share upcoming events. Being so busy with The Vegan Roadie and creating all of these graphics himself, Harder has found the perfect workflow with BeFunky that works well and saves time.
“BeFunky is so straightforward and I need that when I'm trying to get so much done on a tight schedule. The monthly price is so reasonable to get so many great features that I use on a weekly basis. I’ve been using it faithfully for the past five years and fell in love with BeFunky because it’s so easy to navigate, which is first and foremost for me.”
Dustin Harder is a rising legend in the food industry, helping raise awareness for plant-based food and chefs in such a refreshing, entertaining way. It’s amazing to see how much he has accomplished in just a few short years. From filming three successful seasons of The Vegan Roadie to authoring two cookbooks and so much more, Harder’s journey has been filled with pinch-yourself opportunities and we get the feeling that there’s so much more to come. His advice to others looking for a creative outlet in the food industry:
“Create. And know that it’s not about perfection - it’s about creating and putting your work out into the world. If you want to be a recipe developer, sit down and hone your recipe writing skills, and then get in the kitchen and bring those written recipes to life! Design, refine and shine until it takes the shape you want it to. Study cookbooks and blogs to learn what you like about them and what you don't like about them, all so you can create something that is unique to YOU. No matter how big or small the recipe or project, get at it, put your spin on it, and don’t be afraid to share it with the world.”
So inspiring! We highly recommend that you check out The Vegan Roadie episodes, all of which are available on Dustin Harder’s YouTube Channel. If you’re interested in plant-based cooking, all of the info you need for Harder’s cookbooks and more are available on his website. And to check out the Photo Editor that makes his food photography and marketing graphics come to life, click the link below: