Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Martha Tabora. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Hi Martha, thanks for joining us today. What did your parents do right and how has that impacted you in your life and career?
As being born and raised in the country of Honduras, I grew up in a business my parents owned. I literally lived in the business more than the time i spent in my home. My parents came from a poor upbringing which made them very motivated and dedicated to striving in whatever they pursued. Their perseverance lead to them to working for themselves and making a good living out if it. Thankfully that passion and dedication was what I saw first hand and from an early age like around 7 i always envisioned myself pursuing a business career and ultimately running my own business like them.
I thank them for always being hard on me, i was their first to graduate college and its because they always instilled good values and morals, responsibility, independence and of course passion and love in what you do.
One of the earliest memories i have from being in their store (as they owned the first all american product super market and also an office and school supply store) when it was carnaval week i would sit outside their store with a table showcasing the american chocolates and sell them. My dad would laugh at me because i would never want to pay for the product and keep both cost and profit. And of course every trip my dad and I would take to come to south florida to purchase the american school supplies, serving him as his translator, assistant and i can say scout for the cool gear for the kids back home.
So i can say business was always in my blood. I felt very proud traveling and helping in any way i could.
Martha, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
Fast forward to 2015 i moved to South Miami, Florida. I am Martha Tabora, Chef and Co-founder of Vegan Junkie foodtruck. My husband and I serve elevated plant based Burgers and “chicken” sandwiches made from scratch with locally and small business sourced ingredients. We are very particular with our ingredients, we strive to use whole foods, best quality, we are soy free as well. We created vegan junkie as we transitioned into a PlantBased lifestyle and really missed eating our comfort foods.
We initially began as meal prep serving weekly comfort food to our clients, while experimenting over a year and studying the market, we saw the gap of no vegan Cuban Frita in South Florida. Which led to our burger path. Little did we know our whole concept was about to change because of this burger.
We got into the food service industry because that is was my major, I graduated in 2007 from North Miami’s Johnson and Wales University with a Culinary degree and also finished pursuing my business management bachelors degree graduating in 2015 in Honduras. I was a stay at home mom from 2016-2017 and it was during this time my business passion was burning inside of me.
I can say i was always very dedicated in whatever i put my mind into. I remember initially starting culinary, mind you i applied for baking and pastry but since i was at the moment a business major displaced from hurricane katrina in New Orleans i had to start with cooking. I felt so lost as my all my classmates knew what they were doing but me. I was very blessed to have my teacher in my first class help me. I would wake up every friday early while everyone was asleep or enjoying their weekend and be at the kitchen in school at 7 am and practice my knife skills to feel somewhat better and comfortable around my classmates and also for myself. This discipline lead to be offered a part in the culinary team of my campus and of course falling in love with cooking.
After graduating culinary i worked for a year in Miami then returning to Honduras in 2009 to pursue my business bachelor degree while working for hotels. Working in hotels was a good experience but it would take a lot of my time, this lead to my entrepreneurial experience. I developed a brand of baked goods as I saw the need of it. Thats how Baked came to life. I would sell gourmet desserts, cupcakes and cakes. The cupcakes were my best sellers as I offered over 20 different flavors to choose from always staying true to myself, making everything from scratch. I did great in school and outside of it, this helped me graduate as it was my final, presented my business model to a panel of judges.
Transitioning to the plant based lifestyle ignited my culinary passion, obsessing i should say in recreating food. I felt like a mad scientist everyday in my tiny kitchen. My husband was a bartender at the moment, i would pack his meals for the day as he was gone most of the time. His coworkers were always curious of his food and once they tried, it led to offering food service to them. We decided to make a business out of it, created our Instagram and the rest was history. Offering latin- caribbean scratch made comfort meals is what made it standout. I had a set of regular clients and other vegan curious every week. My clients were not vegan but they loved that they could eat their favorite foods in a healthier way, while helping them in their everyday life not having to worry about what they would eat or over spending eating out.
As the cuban frita made its debut in our first vegan festival, we got offered a space in the yellow green farmers market in hollywood. Seeing how successful our burger creation was, we decided to change our business approach and test concept in south Florida’s largest market. It was a two day operation, my husband and I created the menu, upcycled the space and opened in January of 2019.
We are very happy with everything we have created up to this day, we have been very blessed by the most high and we know in our hearts we are doing the right thing. This lifestyle awakened us spiritually and it has been a non stop learning process. Going through the motions of life with covid and having our market closed pushing us to be a foodtruck. We are utmost proud and humbled to serve real food sourced from farms, to be prepped in our kitchen and served to our clients in the cleanest form a “junk food burger” can be created. Our burgers, “chickens”, sauces and sides are made with Superfood ingredients, vegetables, grains seed and nuts. We definitely do not serve anything made in a lab or with weird hard to pronounce ingredients. That has been the success of Vegan junkie, and of course flavors! My husband’s and I background has definitely made a mark on our food. We love seeing our regulars from day 1 and our new customers every week as they have become our extended family and it’s what keeps fueling us to continue doing what we do. We are beyond grateful to each and every person who comes.
As we continue in this path we would love to invite anyone who is plant based curious to come eat at Vegan Junkie, regardless of your dietary preference, our focus is for people to enjoy Good Mood food!
Can you tell us the story behind how you met your business partner?
I met my husband, who is also the creative mind (and the burger master in the truck) behind Vegan Junkie when i returned back home from finalizing my culinary degree in Miami.
We both attended a house party of a mutual friend, he was vacationing in Honduras as one of his best friend is from there and was at the moment a business owner in my hometown.
Our long distance relationship started in 2009 and it was in 2012 we parted ways. Little did we know 3 years after we will be reunited and starting our life together and later on a food business.
How did you build your audience on social media?
Social media has been a great influence to Vegan Junkie’s success, we have marketed ourselves through Instagram. Creating cool pictures, videos and commercials for this platform has definitely caught people’s attention. It has also led to many friendships as this app has made it super easy for us to connect with our customers in the the most honest way.
Would definitely say be yourself and stay true to what your values and beliefs are, there will be people in search of what you offer and they will always be able to see your honesty, love and passion.
Post! Post! Post! Is our advice, people love interacting with a brand and we are grateful we have been able to do this with our fan base. We are a DM away from any question you may have and we are always happy and eager to help anyone.
- Website: www.veganjunkieburgers.com
- Instagram: Veganjunkieburgers
- Facebook: Veganjunkieburgers
- Linkedin: Veganjunkieburgers
- Yelp: Vegan Junkie
- Other: Tiktok @Veganjunkieburgers
Megan Mastrom @mas.pics Adrian del Salto @keepitbussdown Chloe @chloeviews