Tanjariné Kitchen request for support.

I have been cooking since I was a toddler. My beloved mother of blessed memory would ask me to prep produce for her cooking. She allowed me, sometimes, to toss a condiment into her sizzling pot of stew over the fireplace and stir it, too. I particularly enjoyed the stirring and tasting aspect of the cooking. My mother taught me that, just like music, certain notes do not agree with others. Cooking, for her, was not a matter of just feeding our bellies and quenching our hunger but, a deliberate herbal provision to heal and fortify our bodies against diseases.
 
The apprenticeship in my mother’s kitchen was inevitable, because having survived the brutal genocidal Biafran war that killed over a million children, I became my mother’s ‘handbag’ and stayed close to her like her purse. She probably didn’t want me to feel the absence of my father who had been killed in the war. Accordingly, I learned much of the culinary art that I know from my sweet mother. Naturally, that would become the skill that I came back to after some life struggles.
 
My foray into the food service business started after our ethnic television station, Gamzaki Channel, suffered bad business weather in 2009 and capsized in the turbulent economic milieu of my country. Having suffered a lot of financial losses, a divorce and loss of friends, I have had to call upon the skills I learned as a little boy and honed into a craft over four decades. My struggles compelled me to seek answers in spirituality so, I became a disciple of the Sawan Kirpal Ruhani Mission aka Sant Mat- a spiritual path that forbids the killing and consumption of sentient beings and their byproducts. This is in line with ‘Ahimsa’ – nonviolence in thought, words or deed.
 
My subsequent journey to New Orleans led me to marrying my soulmate and best friend. I shared with her my dream to pursue an entrepreneurial endeavor; Tanjariné Kitchen , a vegan food truck. I believed that by combining my experience cooking with a vast number of African herbs and spices, I would be able to bring a different and flavorful vegan culinary experience to the community. This dream would become a reality and I would soon be able to share my philosophy with others- that vegan food is in fact, delicious. 
 
So, we embarked onto a new path.  When I indicated my desire to start a vegan food truck, some friends expressed doubts that the vegan business may not be lucrative since a lot of people think that vegan food is bland and they naturally want to eat animals. However, I have had to maintain my resolve- never to be involved in any business that would make me kill nor pay others to kill a sentient creature. I believe those of us who advocate for animal rights and freedom are vehicles through which the Supreme Creative Power seeks to awaken the sleeping masses of men and women. I believe it is our shared responsibility to keep communicating and demonstrating in our different humble capacities that peace and a sustainable earth begins on our plates.
 
Even when I have felt burdened by this herculean task, even when my decision to not sell meat has caused some discomfort in my business relationships, I have implicit trust that I made the right decision to give service to New Orleans, and humanity, at large, through the vegan meals that I serve on my food truck. It is my desire and passion to continue in this service.    
 
As I write this story, I can no longer use the mobile kitchen, for the aforementioned reasons; difference in ideology and vision with regard to the food business. Meanwhile as we wait to procure and equip another truck I will be doing pop-ups.  Accordingly, I would be very grateful for the support of all in the community and beyond to help me acquire and equip a food truck of my own.
 
Anything you are able to contribute would go a long way toward making equipment purchases. I will keep working while funds are being saved for the new truck. You have an opportunity to help me bring delicious, nutritious, homemade food to this city and the multiple local food deserts where families are having a hard time traveling for healthy meals. Please help me live my passion and feed my community by donating today. Thank you!

Thank you for your donations made here.
 
#TanjarinéKitchen #PlantBased #Nola #ItsYourNola  #ShowMeYourNola #BigEasy #NewOrleans #Louisiana #Kindness #Respect #OneTimeInNola #WhatNolaEats #FrenchQuarter #GeauxNola #IHeartNola #Love #Compassion #Peace #EatFitNola #FrenchMarket #WholeFoods #Superdome #NolaNews #WGNO #Saints #DoGood #PlantBasedDiet #PoweredByPlants #EatPlants #Humanity

April Okpo