ABOUT: About the Team

Team HappyCow

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Our purpose is to make healthy food easy to find and more accessible.
HappyCow was founded in 1999 as a public service to assist travelers and people everywhere find plant-based / vegan options and healthy food. We are vegan-run, from a vegan perspective, and staffed by vegans and vegetarians. Today, our online community has grown to include members from around the world who are passionate about the vegan lifestyle as a healthy, compassionate, and environmentally sustainable way of living. More than simply a restaurant and health food store guide, HappyCow is an ever-evolving online hub that serves millions worldwide each month.


Eric Brent

Eric Brent, Founder and Director

The idea of HappyCow started in 1997 when I first learned that the only world guide to vegetarian restaurants and vegan restaurants on the internet at that time (now defunct) was no longer being updated. However, I had put the idea on hold until November 1999. I was living in India at that time, and although I wasn't sure exactly how a project like this could be managed, I felt compelled to take it on. As a world traveler who's lived, worked, and visited more than 50 countries, I had encountered much difficulty looking for "safe" food each time I arrived at a new town or city. So, I taught myself html, paid for web hosting, and HappyCow was born. As a 25+ year vegan, having this resource has made eating vegan simple.

Diana and Shanti

Diana Hsieh, Editor

Prior to meeting Eric, I had come across the HappyCow site once while searching the internet for a vegetarian restaurant recommendation. Then in 2005 I began to volunteer just a few hours a week to help manage the growing popularity and demand for this service. Through volunteering I've learned some fundamental skills in web management and witnessed what goes on behind the scenes (a whole lot). Presently I assist the team in tasks like editing web content, responding to visitor emails, and producing our monthly vegin' out e-newsletter, MooZine. Playing with children and watching plants grow are my joie d'vivre.

Ken Spector

Ken Spector, Marketing and Ideas Man

Ken is a fountain of knowledge who is interested in everything life has to offer, from the psychology of business marketing to organic gardening to website/graphic design. He has consulted for or worked in upper management for numerous companies including Microsoft, Hollywood.com, Eco Vision Packaging, and LivingECO.com. He is dedicated to living a vegan, holistic, sustainable lifestyle. You may have seen him zooming through the streets of Los Angeles on his bicycle.

Ricardo Tiago

Ricardo Tiago, Senior Software Engineer

Ricardo has been vegan since 2008 when he first watched earthlings. Inspired by the movie, he decided to research the ethics of eating animals and never looked back. He has a master degree in Computer Science and has worked for research institutions such as CERN, National Institute of Informatics of Japan, and for the NGO AVAAZ. Loves animals and volunteered for animal welfare organizations in Thailand and Japan, where he helped Japan Cat Network rescue animals from the disaster and restricted areas. Ricardo loves traveling and exploring the world. He decided to go digital nomad from 2012.

Thiago Locks

Thiago Locks, Software Engineer

Thiago has been vegan since 2002 inspired by punk rock scene, when realized that every living being deserves respect. Self taught programmer, works with IT for more than a decade and he's passionate about it. He lived as a digital nomad for 1.5 years and HappyCow guide helped quite a lot in finding the right place around the world. He is so glad to work with something that's helpful. Currently Thiago lives in Brazil.

Evelyn Hays

Evelyn Hays, Listings Editor

Evelyn became a vegetarian in 1987 and evolved to veganism in 1997. She brings to HappyCow a desire to make the world a healthier place and how fitting it is that she is adding restaurants and stores worldwide to our directory. She also bakes vegan, gluten free, and organic desserts in a professional capacity. Massage therapy was her full time occupation for 20 years and now is a part time venture. We are happy to have her working with us; she is a true asset.

Ashwin Navin

Ashwin Navin, Advisor

A friend to HappyCow, Ashwin is presently the co-founder and CEO of Samba and a founding partner of I/O Ventures; formerly co-founder and president of BitTorrent, where he commercialized the technology, struck monetization and licensing relationships with advertising, media and hardware companies.

Nancy Chen

Nancy Chen, Senior Design Consultant and Designer

A New Zealand based, life long vegetarian - Senior designer with experiences of working on major international brands such as Air Zealand, Westpac, Hyundai and Jevic. Nancy is committed to using design for good and with that in mind, she is dedicated in helping out with HappyCow's website design refresh.

Shannon Browning

Shannon Browning, Editorial & Social Media Director

Shannon is a long time vegan and musician. She's had the pleasure of being immersed in the vegan community, meeting countless inspiring individuals who are truly making a difference. One of those people happened to be Eric, founder of a website she had been using since her early days as a vegan. Since then, she's been lucky enough to be a part of the fabulous team at HappyCow! In addition to her work, Shannon spends her time making music, working on her vegan clothing line at CrueltyFreeCulture.com, and cooking/gardening. She currently resides in Los Angeles.

Amy Gackowska

Amy Gackowska, Content Editor

I have been vegan since 2003 and stumbled upon HappyCow about two years later, after which it has been a life-saver for finding food every time I've relocated - almost twenty times in all! Before joining the HappyCow team I worked in education for eleven years and also interned twice for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Currently I spend my time working towards two Master degrees, learning languages, reading history books, and as a peaceful activist for animal rights, gender equality and environmental protection.

Yajna Sibal

Yajna Sibal, Content Editor

Yajna is a vegetarian since birth and has embraced the yoga lifestyle at a very early age. She stumbled upon HappyCow in 2010 while browsing around for vegetarian restaurants not knowing that she will be part of the HappyCow team a few months later. She is an active member of an organization that works to uplift people's consciousness and protect Mother Nature. Her leisure hours are spent composing music and delving in technological gadgets and software programs.

David Fox-Meakin

David Fox-Meakin, Content Editor

I'm a fairly new vegan, having been vegetarian for a few years until 2014 when I finally made the jump. I have spent the last few years travelling frequently in Europe with my husband, sampling some of the great vegan food and hospitality it has to offer. HappyCow has been an essential resource so I was happy to become ambassador for Sheffield and meet Eric at a local vegan fair. The opportunity to later join the fabulous editing team was too good to pass. In 'real life' I'm a team leader for a global IT solutions provider and have a BSc. in Computer Science. I take an interest in politics, human rights and, of course, eating out.

The HappyCow Cookbook: Recipes from Top-Rated Vegan Restaurants around the World

This book shares the history and evolution of over 40 of the highest member-rated restaurants, provides Q&As with the owners, and teaches you how to make some of their mouthwatering foods.

Available now through Amazon.com.

We also receive incredible support from our worldwide members and Ambassadors.

HappyCow is a free-to-use site, non profit in nature but not 501-c status, and our manpower and resources are, at times, limited. Yet each day, this site grows and evolves with continuous flow of positive feedback and contributions from our visitors and members. Together with members, partners, and volunteers worldwide, we have new ideas for the future of this site

If you would like to be involved, email us. We welcome investors and financial support, guest bloggers, sponsors, programmers and graphic artists, and volunteers.

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Lotus Blossoms

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