As a young boy growing up in Nepal, Subash Yadav was constantly surrounded by food, specifically fresh and locally-grown. Despite this, he came to America for his undergrad unaware that one could have a career in the food industry.
Now Yadav is living his dream, as a now 7-month owner of the Nepali-Indian food truck Everest Momo. Everest Momo serves food that is “wholesome, natural and sustainable,” says Yadav. He’s always believed that food needs to be fun and exciting and that it should have a bigger impact than simply filling your stomach. The dishes from the truck are simple and clean, with no preservatives.
Yadav loves the food truck culture — going where the crowd is, bringing “new and exciting flavors to people,” while educating customers on the importance of sustainable foods.
While growing up in Nepal, Yadav shares that they never thought to be sustainable per se, it just came naturally. Everything they ate was fresh, locally-sourced, and in-season.
Yadav himself is half-Nepali, half-Indian, and carries both into his work. The two cultures are similar, with food being central to many of their respective festivities. Yadav would help his mother and grandmother with food preparations, and as time went by, he began to appreciate food. His mother ingrained in him that how much love and care you put into everything you make is important.
Although his father is not much of a cook, Yadav says he’s a very good eater — a trait they share. They both appreciate good food and will travel far, wait forever, or go anywhere for a tasty bite. His father also taught him to never give up, and “in whatever you do, be best at it.” Whether that’s as a teacher, an artist, or a doctor like Yadav was on track to be.
Although on the pre-med track, he soon found out about food science and changed his major. His father didn’t initially agree with the change, but soon saw that his son not only loves what he does but is also extremely passionate about it. When he first launched his food truck, he says his dad was in shock, but Yadav knows that being a street vendor isn’t his end goal, it’s the “beginning of something bigger.”
Everest Momo, he says, is a step in the right direction towards how food should be viewed and consumed. “We only get one body in our life, we’ve got to take care of it,” he says. Our bodies are not made to consume artificially processed foods, so creating and serving clean food was “almost a given” priority of his when he first created his business.
“I want that to become a trend because that is how we should be eating. We should be eating what grows in the season because that’s how our body functions, and that’s how the food tastes the best,” Yadav says.
He’s been working with Local First Arizona and their Arizona Green Business Program, to become one of the most sustainable food trucks in Arizona. “Sustainability is a never-ending process,” he says, because “there’s always room to grow.” Yadav aims to be a role model for other trucks, citing that collective action needs to take place for there to be change.
Being sustainable is difficult, Yadav says. It requires time and research. Availability of resources, and finding quality products have been some of the challenges, as not everything is readily available locally.
“Using local ingredients to create global flavors,” is a mantra he often repeats. He wants people to see where their food comes from, and to appreciate all the hard work Arizona farmers do. Their work should be noticed and appreciated, he says, and “as chefs and food entrepreneurs, we can do that.”
Yes, “it’s still expensive and it adds to your business cost,” Yadav says, but the sustainability aspect excites people. He’s proud to say that if one takes a to-go order from Everest Momo: “everything is biodegradable;” forks, spoons, knives, and the to-go container.
This mission of sustainability will not be lost, Yadav says, as Everest Momo looks to have a brick and mortar hopefully next month. Even with the new structure, there will still be a huge push on keeping it local, he says.
Yadav has and continues to receive support from customers, friends, and family alike. “Honestly, I feel so blessed,” he says.
Although his roots tie him back to South Asia; “I love this place,” Yadav says of Arizona, “this is what feels like home.”