‘Good food is good food’: Local yogi to open vegan food truck

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By C. Jayden Smith

Tabay Atkins, a San Clemente native and one of the youngest professional yogis in the world, has always been ambitious and busy, spending time teaching yoga, vegan cooking classes and making guest appearances.

For his next adventure, he thought, why not open a food truck?

The truck, called Tabay’s Conscious Kitchen, has already been operating in “soft opening” for the past two weeks as Atkins has been slow to acclimate to cooking for large audiences. The inauguration will take place on Sunday, July 10.

“The last time I spoke with the SC time (in September 2021) was when it was just an idea,” Atkins said. “Now it’s reality…and it’s already been a big hit.”

What started on a whim has grown steadily over the past year as Atkins and his mother, Sahel Anvarinejad, planned the design of the food truck, inside and out. , as well as the menu. They followed the construction of the truck from scratch and the installation of all new appliances, to the design of the exterior trim which displays images of the offers.

The vehicle was installed and will remain at the 76 Capistrano Beach gas station that Atkins and his mother inherited Jan. 1 from his grandfather, who had previously owned it for more than 50 years.

The impact of the food truck’s location is not lost on Atkins, who grew up nearby and described the surrounding communities of Dana Point and San Clemente as deeply close to him. He added that it was great for people who have known and seen the family for three generations to stay in the area.

“Now we can share our food with this community here and with our customers at the resort, and (get to introduce them to) this amazing vegan food,” Atkins said.

His favorite menu item, along with the burgers, chili cheese dogs and poke bowls they serve, is ‘Everyone Phavorite Pho’, a Vietnamese broth dish that has long been one of his meal choices. favorites and was in the top 10 of her e-book. most popular recipes.

After yoga became an important part of Atkins’ life at age 7, veganism naturally followed, he said, because the principles and values ​​of the two were so closely aligned.

In August 2017, he went fully vegan and incorporated this type of meal into his cooking for himself, his video classes and his events.

“Because I was already a chef before I was vegan, I took my cooking skills that I already had, turned them into vegan cooking and started teaching people how to make their own food which is better better for your health, better for the environment and better for the animals,” Atkins said.

He’s proud to show people that being vegan doesn’t mean they have to give up their favorite foods or flavors. When developing the food truck menu, he made sure to select popular and comfort foods that people were already familiar with and would be sure to enjoy.

Despite his experience, Atkins acknowledged that managing a large-scale operation was new to him, which is why the past few weeks have been crucial in preparing him for a new environment.

“I’m ready for the grand opening and everything after that,” he said. “For the grand opening, I hope a lot of people will show up and a lot of people will get to know the food truck and the food there, if they haven’t already.”

He added that he was excited to meet people and introduce his concept to the community.

Atkins will also give away Nike yoga mats on Sunday, as part of the support he has received from the brand since partnering with the sportswear company in 2021.

He feels he has grown considerably over the past year, both in terms of yoga and cooking.

As part of his yoga practice and teaching, he began to teach more philosophically and to use yoga as it was conceived, according to Atkins – as a means of learning philosophy and understanding. integrate into his life and that of others.

“I’ve developed my cooking skills a lot more since opening the food truck, from being able to cook well to being able to cook very quickly and being able to mass produce a lot of food at once,” he said. -he adds. “Because I used to cook for events, but now it’s just non-stop cooking for people when they show up (at the truck).”

Atkins plans surgery to be his primary focus as she gets going, but he will also remain involved with his yoga practice, efforts as a nutritionist, and other pursuits.

First and foremost, he said he wouldn’t define food truck success as monetary, but in terms of letting people know they can eat healthier, whole, or vegan foods without sacrificing the things they love. .

“A lot of people have a misconception in their mind that, you know, vegan food is boring, vegan food is gross,” Atkins said. “But really, I do all the food and we’ve only had a few vegan customers, actually. All the others are not vegan and they love the food.

In some circumstances, Atkins said, people eating in the truck couldn’t believe what they consumed was vegan, such as offerings couldn’t easily be identified as vegan by their appearance or even taste.

The food truck is parked at the intersection of Doheny Park Road and Victoria Boulevard, open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nike will give away free yoga mats to the first batch of customers on Sunday.

You can find more information on the history of Atkins, as well as cooking tutorials on tabayatkins.com.

C. Jayden Smith

C. Jayden Smith graduated from Dana Hills High in 2018 before pursuing a bachelor’s degree in digital and broadcast journalism at the University of North Texas. After graduating in December 2020, he reported for the Salina Journal in Salina, Kansas. Jayden loves college football and bothers his black lab named Shadow.

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