NHS worker packs it all in to sell vegan junk food from her driveway
Vegans, rejoice: there is a new food truck in town, and no, it doesn’t just sell dry veggie burgers and plain tomato pasta. Far from it, actually. Vegan Filth is a Pontarddulais -based vegan food truck and delivery service that sells all sorts of indulgent, deep-fried, plant-based goodness, from banana blossom ‘fish’ and chips to jackfruit-based ‘chicken’ wings.
Shop co-owner Natasha Moore, aka Tofu Tash, said: “It’s a huge misconception that vegan food has to be bland and boring. When I first went vegan more than six years ago, there were very few choices for vegans – especially in fast food places. We wanted to create something completely new in Swansea.”
: Vegan burger that smells most like real beef named following cooking tests Before the pandemic, Natasha, 28, worked as an NHS worker handling 111 calls while studying for a social care degree she had little interest in. In her free time, she ran the popular vegan food blog Tofu Tash , which features a huge range of unique vegan alternatives including Welsh rarebit and boozy welsh cakes.
When she entered her second year of university, Natasha decided that she wanted to pursue a career in food – in part due to the success of her blog. She dropped out of her course on the first day of term, stating: “Everyone around me was so excited to start the new term, and I just realised that the degree really wasn’t for me. I didn’t want the standard 9-5 job either.”
Vegan Filth’s Philly Cheeze Steak is just as popular with meat eaters (Image: Natasha Moore)Marinated “fishy” banana blossom with a vegan skin and bone and crispy batter (Image: Natasha Moore)
After having a serious chat with her long-term partner, Dalton Mack, 29, originally Scottish, the couple made a joint decision to open up a vegan food truck – starting with a tiny horsebox in their driveway in Pontarddulais.
The pair funded the business entirely out of their own pockets, as Natasha recalls: “We spent a small fortune and most of our savings on getting everything ready – I literally had GBP1 left in my bank account. We got the horsebox ready and I called Dalton and said, ‘we’re opening this weekend, we have no choice’.”
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Changed your mind? There’s an ‘unsubscribe’ button at the bottom of every newsletter we send out. The opening weekend was so successful the couple moved into a bigger van within weeks, and within a few months, Natasha was able to quit her NHS job to focus on running the business full-time.
“We knew for sure that we wanted to do junk food, because there’s nothing else like that in Swansea. We are vegan for the animals, so we eat meat replacements and food that imitates meat so we get the tastes and textures – just without hurting animals.” She added: “After making the decision to create a junk food menu, we did as much research as we could into making smart business decisions, because neither of us come from a business background.”
Natasha and Dalton’s new ‘big boy’ van that’s ready to attend festivals, pop-ups, events and everything in between (Image: Natasha Moore)The ‘It Smells Fishy’ box was so popular over one weekend that they couldn’t take any more orders (Image: Natasha Moore)
Dalton has also recently resigned from his job at Trade Centre Wales to focus on the business full-time with Natasha.
Natasha said: “Demand came a lot quicker than we expected, and we’re receiving at least three times the amount of orders we were expecting. We’re pretty much maxed out now until we can get more hands and a bigger premises up and running. We’re loving it, though, even if it does mean staying up until 3am to catch up on dishes!”
While Natasha and Dalton didn’t receive any loans or funding, they received help from Bucanier which provided business advice, as well as enrolling them onto a course at Swansea University. Places to eat near where you live: The couple are looking forward to moving into a bigger mobile premises later on this year, and they are hoping to attend festivals and events across the country in their new truck.
“Selling at festivals was the initial plan, but that was side-tracked by Covid, like many other things. Instead, we took the time to rethink our plan, learn a bit more about the industry and improve our menu – and we’re over the moon with how things are going.”
Vegan Filth’s indulgent homemade vegan biscoff cheesecake (Image: Natasha Moore)The ‘Munchie Box’ which features homemade seitan doner meat and seasoned chips among other things (Image: Natasha Moore)
In the future, the couple hope to open up a bar/restaurant in either Swansea or Cardiff. For Natasha, the best part of opening her own local business has been the newfound sense of community:
“The nicest thing about running a small business like this is the community that’s formed – even our local postman has become a regular. Our customers have been incredibly supportive and have really helped us in terms of word-of-mouth exposure. “I do at times have a bit of impostor syndrome, seeing how well it has all come together.”
In recent weeks, the couple have been approached by numerous pop-up events, which they are looking forward to attending.
Reflecting on working beside her partner, Natasha said: “We actually met in McDonald’s when we were 18, so we’ve come pretty much full circle, really.”
Do you have any favourite vegan hotspots in Swansea? Let us know in the comments :