Little Rock’s Alicia Watson, owner of the plant-based culinary wellness business Vito and Vera, is competing on the new Food Network competition series “Big Restaurant Bet.” Hosted by celebrity chef and restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian, the six episode series “presents eight talented chefs with the opportunity to take the next step in their culinary career with challenges to determine who has what it takes to run their first restaurant.” According to the release, $250,000 of Zakarian’s resources will be invested for the next rising star in the restaurant world.

Watson, a former occupational therapist in home health, developed an interest in nutrition as a means for complementary treatment and enrolled in culinary school intrigued by the concept that “food is medicine,” according to her bio. Vito and Vera is named after Watson’s grandparents who both immigrated to the U.S. at age 15. “They grew up to become a spectacular chef and baker, but I think the most important lessons I learned from them are because of their deep love for whole foods and home-grown ingredients,” Watson says in her bio.

Vito and Vera, is a culinary wellness business that strives to meet people wherever they are on the plant-based continuum. We are deeply instilled with the values of honoring women, embracing our LGBTQ+ heritage, and realizing that immigrants really do get the job done. We strive to reflect these values in every dish that leaves the kitchen and all other aspects of our business.


Outside of the business, Chef Alicia remains passionate and deeply rooted in protection of the environment, reducing the business’s carbon footprint, and honoring women as leaders in and out of the kitchen. Her passion for delivering vibrant flavor profiles is only overshadowed by the hope to change peoples’ plates to change their lives.

You can watch Watson in the premier episode of “Big Restaurant Bets” Tuesday, April 5 at 9 p.m. on The Food Network. All episodes will be available to stream weekly beginning April 5 on Discovery+.

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