Usually the idea of a food truck conjures up images of greasy, unhealthy food served in Styrofoam. The “Seabirds Truck” is a far cry from any of those antiquated ideas. Imagine wholesome, tasty foods made from organic ingredients served fresh by people who care about you and your good health. Vegan food is not a ’60’s renaissance, rather it is non-traditional, and according to Stephanie Morgan, owner of Seabirds, it includes, “deep fried avocado tacos for goodness sake!”
If the name Seabirds sounds familiar, perhaps you saw the truck recently on The Food Network show – “Food Truck Race.” Although they did not win, Stephanie was very enthusiastic about their ability to promote the vegan message nationwide through the show. In a phone call with her I asked where she first got the idea for a vegan food business, where she gets her ingredients and serving materials, and what she sees as the future of Seabirds. While working in New York four years ago Stephanie frequented a vegan restaurant in the City where she fell in love with the cuisine and the vegan lifestyle. On her return to Orange County she turned that passion into the Seabirds Truck. Stephanie feels that, “Although vegans are only one percent on the population, I want to introduce the food to everyone.”
Most of the gourmet food trucks we see in Los Angeles and Orange Counties have an audience that easily recognizes their menu options, but this is not the case with vegan food. Stephanie stated that, “One of our biggest hurdles is to create a new market and we have to educate the public about the food – which takes time. We give out a lot of samples!” Seabirds is competing with vendors of traditional foods such as hamburgers, hot dogs, and sweet desserts. But the items on the Seabirds menu sound and taste great. Who wouldn’t want to try Beer Battered Avocado Tacos or Caribbean Coconut Rice? And, you won’t find any Styrofoam on the Seabirds Truck – it’s all eco paper and recyclable food service materials. The Seabirds carbon footprint is small by comparison to that of many other food trucks because Seabirds buys local produce from organic farms in Orange County, and dry goods from nearby Moreno Valley. Because they buy local, Seabirds reduces their gas consumption, and because they use no animal products, the energy intensity of their menu is reduced.
The days are long and the work is hard, but Stephanie is determined to get the vegan message to a wider audience. She wants to expand her business to include catering and vegan consulting with other restaurants. The truck can found five days a week in Irvine at its home base on the Teller Lot (18678 Teller Avenue). They do travel to a lot of other venues in Orange County and Los Angeles. A full schedule of the Seabirds upcoming locations is posted on their website. If you take the trip for lunch it is well worth it, and Stephanie’s enthusiasm is infectious!