Meet Vick Vannucci, founder of organic South American restaurant, Pachamama

Vick Vannucci, founder and CEO of Pachamama.
(Zach Allia)

In the Andean region of South America, Pachamama is the goddess of Earth and time--she governs everything, from earthquakes and volcanoes to planting and harvesting.

Naming her restaurant after such a powerful and omniscient force seemed like an obvious move to restaurateur, Vick Vannucci, who is slated to open Pachamama any day now.

Pachamama—the South American restaurant--was born out of a series of life mistakes that inspired change. Before moving to San Diego, Vannucci was a well-known model, tennis player and socialite on the Argentinian social scene. Photos emerged of her hunting, which caused a public backlash that caused Vannucci to stop, think and take stock of her life.

“I made my fair share of mistakes along the way, including choices that I am not proud of - that were ignorant to the reality of what is occurring with our planet,” Vannucci says. “[It is] vital that we become conscious of how we grow and prepare our food. It took me quite some time to understand the true importance of these things, and how I, too must become a steward in this world, to help care for other living beings and our planet in the process. I realized that I must acknowledge my own errors and rectify them.”

And so the idea for Pachamama was born.

“Pachamama is here to provide healthy food made with love and respect for each ingredient and the journey it takes from farm to table. Starting with the soil it is harvested in, to the people that enjoy a meal in our restaurant, we aim to enjoy the best quality nourishment from the world and offer the best quality nourishment back to the world,” Vannucci tells me. She adds that all of the dishes are created with organic, whole-food ingredients with only a small emphasis on animal protein, which she sources solely from providers with high food safety and quality standards that treat their animals humanely.

“We will also give a portion of everything we earn to animal welfare services, in hopes that we may continue to support the cycle of life on this planet,” she adds. Beyond the menu, she takes that concept a step further.

“Our goal is to always strive for the utmost transparency in everything we do. We use renewable materials in our restaurant and even went to great lengths to donate or recycle everything we could not use from the previous restaurant space before redesigning it,” Vannucci explains.

Besides playing her part in changing the world, Vannucci is particularly excited to bring more South American cooking to San Diego.

“What I love the most in San Diego’s culture is that everyone is the same and no matter what color you are, what nationality you have they treat you as part of San Diego. As if you had always belonged, that’s what I feel here. I feel I belong in San Diego and I want to put my fingerprint in its gastronomy as my way to say, ‘Thanks for letting me be a part of this beautiful place.’”