Daijah Birchette has always had a love for cooking delicious meals. For the past five years, she has had a dream of having her own food truck and, eventually, her own restaurant that specializes in the vegan dishes that she creates. Now, she’s looking to the greater Madison community to help support her in that dream.
Birchette, 26, who was born and raised on Madison’s south side, cooks every day for her family of four little girls and her partner, Andrew. She says she has learned through trial and error about veganism, plant-based foods, health, agriculture and so much more.
Birchette lived in Indianapolis back in 2016 and that’s when she was introduced to the vegan and vegetarian lifestyles.
“As time progressed, I became an entrepreneur out there, and I used to sell jerk chicken tacos as I was still in a transition to vegan. I would always sell out,” Birchette tells Madison365. “I was making the food at home and selling it at barbershops and they would always buy the food and they would request more.”
The idea to have her very own food truck came up back then and it was a dream that really stuck with her over the years.
“When I moved back to Madison, I said that I’m going to get a food truck. I’m going to have a restaurant,” she remembers.
But then the pandemic hit and the timing was not right to make that leap. But now she feels that it is.
“Lately, I’ve been cooking so much and I’ve been falling in love with cooking all over again because I cook every single day for the girls and Drew,” Birchette says. “My food has just been coming out excellent. I’ve been trying new things and the idea of having a food truck has just really been on my heart.
“All I want to do is to be able to have a restaurant and a food truck and be able to give back to the community because my ultimate goal is to have an organization. It’s called My Health Redemption,” she adds. “And it’s about helping those who are interested in transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, or just plant-based, or even for those who may not want to transition right now, but they want to know more about it. I want to have something where I can talk to the youth about healthy cooking and eating.”
Birchette has set up a GoFundMe to get her started on her journey as she looks to raise $30,000 for a food truck.
“My plan is to match that $30,000. Food trucks can range anywhere from $20,000 to $200,000. I have been looking around quite a bit,” she says. “I’m looking for something that is kind of used but still something I can go and make my own.”
Does she already have a name for her business?
“The name is “The Walking Jerk.’ The walking food of choice is tacos. You can walk and eat a taco pretty easily. The same goes for taquitos, which are like rolled tacos, which will be one of my specialties, too,” Birchette says. “The jerk part of that is what you are going to come for… you’re going to love the jerk flavors. They are really authentic.”
Birchette adds that the food that you put in your body really fuels you and it helps spark energy and all the great things that you need to thrive.
“I felt like becoming vegan is what has helped me change my whole perspective on life and helped me to just be a better person and strive for greatness,” she says. “I feel like a lot of it has to do with what I started putting in my body because it was like an act of self-love. So, ultimately, the restaurant and the food truck is something that I’ve always wanted, but it’s a part of this big picture.”
Birchette says that she has already catered private events and conferences, and thinks it would be wonderful for Madison to have its first Black woman-owned vegan food cart.
“I think people will really like what I have to offer which is vegan tacos, jerk style vegan tacos, different styles of tacos, but 100% vegan. I just really concentrate on making food that is not heavily processed,” she says. “This is something I’m really excited about and really passionate about. I hope the GoFundMe goes well.”