We caught up with our friend Aminah, founder of Fake Taco, to chat about her plant-based lifestyle and why her #LunchtimeFails drove her to start her own company.
Tell us about yourself. How did you come up with the idea for Fake Taco?
My name is Aminah Haghighi and I’m the founder and Chef de Taco at Fake Taco, a plant-based taco delivery service based in Toronto.
I created Fake Taco because I found it very difficult to find plant-based foods that are gluten free and soy free, but also fun and creative. I’ve been in the restaurant space for basically all of my adult life until I recently made the switch to the corporate world. I was sitting at my desk using Foodora (the on-demand food delivery platform) and I realized how limited my options were for vegan food that was also soy free and gluten free. I could only find the usual suspects – quinoa bowls or salads – but I longed for something more. Surely, vegans ate more than just power bowls.
That’s where Fake Taco was born. To me, it’s a play on what real food vs. fake food really is, a twist on what traditional tacos are vs. what we want to achieve at Fake Taco. Food that’s good enough for the carnivore, but made for the herbivore.
What void is Fake Taco filling in today’s market?
We’re trying to make amazing plant-based food, free of gluten and soy, available and accessible. Being available on local delivery apps like Foodora was a no brainer for us and really was what we based our business on. We didn’t want to be confined to a retail space and instead keep our costs down really low to make Fake Taco as affordable as possible.
Cheap, quick, and delicious as heck. That’s the void we’re filling.
The vegan community is very tight-knit. Do you look to any leaders in the space for guidance or advice, both formally or informally? If so, who are they and why do you admire them?
I’ve been in and out of vegan life for the past 5 years and I’ve recently adopted the plant-based diet. Though I’m fairly new, Chef Doug McNish of Public Kitchen is definitely someone I follow and admire (I’m currently wearing one of his “kale is the new beef” shirts). His brand far extends his restaurant and accomplishes such elevated vegan fare on the daily. Being able to do events, festivals, have an amazing restaurant, and be super active on social media is admirable. He responds to every single Instagram comment and takes time to respond to my (often numerous) emails. He is fantastic.
How has Fake Taco been received by mainstream market? Do you find people are more receptive to eating and embracing a plant-based diet than they were 6 months ago? 2 years ago?
To be honest, I didn’t think people would be as obsessed with the idea as I am. I wore a Fake Taco hat and posted it to my Instagram Story the other day and I had so many people asking where they could buy it – and we’re not even launched yet!
People have reached out to spread so much love over my personal social networks about Fake Taco and it has been so encouraging. Once people spend enough time with me, they slowly start to open up about wanting to try a plant-based diet. Our options aren’t as limited as they once were so when people hear that they can still eat tacos while maintaining a plant-based diet, they’re much more receptive.
We know there are people out there who are weary to embark on their plant-based journey. What tips or advice do you have for people who are thinking about making the switch but just haven’t done it yet?
- Learn what you can substitute. Love queso and chips? Grab a jar of Michelle’s RawFoodz CheeSauce. Slowly try swapping out your favorite things for the plant-based alternatives.
- You don’t need to go cold turkey. Go at your own pace, and if you don’t feel comfortable throwing out all of your pantry items at once, don’t!
- Follow all of the IG inspo accounts. @Plant.based.kristy is one of my favourites. When you’re scrolling through your Instagram, you’ll get little bursts of vegan inspiration!
- Have 5 recipes in your vegan arsenal. Know how to make a pasta, a soup, a breakfast, a sandwich, and an entree. Know them so well you don’t need a recipe for them. It helps you stay on track when you know your way around the vegan kitchen!