Party With Plants Co-Founder Sienna Ricca on Starting L.A.'s Only Plant-Based Pop-Up Picnic Experience

This sister-owned business makes everything from scratch using seasonal and locally sourced produce.

Party With Plants Co-Founders Sienna and Micaela Ricca

When plant-based meals met picnics, the result was Party With Plants, the only private, plant-based pop-up picnic experience in L.A. and the brainchild of sisters Sienna and Micaela Ricca. While studying fine art in college in 2016, Sienna conceptualized Party with Plants in her dorm room as nothing more than an Instagram account where she'd share her vegan meals.

"I quickly immersed myself in plant-based cooking and entertaining, and with that an appreciation for intentional living. Over the course of the next four years, I would obsess over what recipe I could try next, what hasn't been done before, and who would let me cook for them. I became enthralled with this art in the form of food," Sienna told UncoverLA.

The sisters started the business as an ode to mother nature, with the goal of sharing the beauty of living a conscious lifestyle. Each meal served during their whimsical pop-up is made from scratch using locally sourced and seasonal produce. Party With Plants offers in-home personal chef services and recently started hosting plant-based, multi-course dinners.

"Today, Party with Plants is much more than an Instagram account. It is my career, and I continue learn and grow with it everyday," said Sienna.

We caught up with co-founder Sienna to learn more about her inspiration for fusing two of Angelenos' favorite things, the one plant-based meal she can eat every day, her go-to L.A. plant-based eateries, and more.

What's your background, and if not hospitality and/or event planning, what was your inspiration for starting Party With Plants? 

I began my culinary career in my college dorm room, teaching myself how to cook on a single hot plate. For the next four years of school, I would obsess over plant-based food, what I could try next, what hasn't been done before, and who would let me cook for them. 

After graduating, I traveled across Europe and Southeast Asia and learned that the universal act of gathering around a table to share a meal is an art all on its own. 

I returned with the gift of invoking happiness through the ultimate common ground: sharing a quality meal with good company. I made it my mission to transform the simple pleasures of being together into plant-based parties with a purpose. 

What's one plant-based meal or dessert you could eat every day?
I am in constant need for newness. I rarely make the exact same thing twice, but the recipe below is addicting–it's my go-to sweet treat I keep in the freezer:

  1. De-pit one very gooey mejdool date, and stuff it with a few peanuts, cashews, or any nut of choice, then seal it up.
  2. Coat the date in runny nut butter (I am on a huge cashew butter kick right now.
  3. Pop that in the freezer for 10 minutes while you gently melt some semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips.
  4. Dunk the date in the melted chocolate, top with flaky Maldon sea salt, freeze for at least hour, and enjoy! You can make a few to have on hand!

Who were your role models growing up and who are they today?

My dad is my biggest role model, who instilled the importance of hard work, and treating others with kindness. He made friends wherever he went, and people were naturally attracted to his energy. He was just someone you always wanted to be around. He taught me to hold the highest standards for every aspect of life. Good food, quality friendships, and intentional consumerism. The #1 goal was to create as many good memories as possible. 

Do you listen to music while working? If so, what are your go-to jams? 

Call me crazy but I prefer to work in silence. The added noise can jumble my brain. I love a good audiobook or The Queen Dolly Parton when I am cleaning up! 

Other than running the business, what does your ideal day look like from waking up to falling asleep? 

The formula for my best day ever is simple. I wake up naturally early to meditate and take my dog, Halo, on a morning hike around my property. Then I pack up my car with Halo in the passenger seat and spend the day surfing and cooking at the beach with friends. I end the night, happily tired from the sun, with a home-cooked meal and an early 2000's movie. 

What about Party With Plants are you most excited about in the next year or so? 

Partnerships, traveling, the people we will meet and work with! One of the biggest gifts PWP has given me is the immense amount of new relationships that have formed from starting a business. 

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? 

Paying a visit back to the homeland of Italy! I have visited almost every region, but the food, people, landscapes, and lifestyle will never fail to inspire me. 

You're sitting down with your 20-year-old and 80-year-old selves. What advice are you giving the younger you and what is the older you congratulating the current you for? 

I would tell my 20-year-old self that if you're the smartest person in the room, find a new room. You might feel like you don't belong, but that feeling is actually your biggest blessing at this time. You will find out that there are so many people in the world you haven't met yet who want to genuinely see you succeed. You will find your place and thrive. 

The 80-year old Sienna would congratulate me for failing. She would congratulate me on finding out what didn't work, and trying something new until I found what did. She would congratulate me for actually doing it rather than just talking about it, for being scared, and going for it anyway. 

What's your spirit ingredient?
Smoked paprika. Potatoes, avo toast, my secret addition to every marinade for a meaty BBQ flavor.

What are your go-to plant-based eateries in or around L.A.?
Little Pine, Gracias Madre (worth all the hype), Crossroads brunch, Plant Powered Fast Food. I honestly find of the some of my favorite vegan dishes at restaurants that aren't 100% vegan: Pace, Croft Alley, Craig's for the GIANT vegan Sundae.

You're taking a first-time visitor on a one-day tour of L.A. Where are some of your top stops? 

I would start with what to avoid: the walk of fame at all costs. Our first stop starts on Melrose Place, for a bite at Croft Alley. Then, make a beeline for the Santa Monica Farmer's market, followed by the Eagle Rock Hiking trail in Topanga Canyon. 

Favorite outdoor place to get away in L.A.? 

The abundance of hidden trails in Topanga Canyon and, despite the crowds, Surfrider Beach for a sunset surf.

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