Jillian Engledow of Big V LondonI was born in the UK but left as a child for Australia where I lived for thirty-five years. With my
Vegan Trader of the Month: Carla Casadei of Young Vegans
Hackney Downs Vegan Market really needs no introduction. Brainchild of Fat Gay Vegan and Eat Work Art, this extremely popular destination is the place to go to sample some of the greatest Vegan food London has to offer.
To feed you curiosity, we are launching a monthly series of vegan traders spotlights, telling the story of your favourite street food vendors from our market.
This month, we introduce you to Carla Casadei from Young Vegans, London’s first (and best!) vegan pie and mash stand.
Learn about how she started her business, the key to her success and get a feel of what it’s like to be part of Hackney Downs Vegan Market.
Carla Casadei of Young Vegans
I come from Rio de Janeiro. My neighbourhood of Mare is known for having one of the most dangerous favelas in Rio. I studied journalism back home and travelled to the UK eight years ago to study English and start a new life. Back then I would never have thought I could run my own business, especially after seeing how hard it was to make ends meet in London. I had various types of jobs, including working as a cleaner. I have been vegan for seven years, making the change just a year after moving to London. I always wanted to be vegan but thought it was too difficult when faced with the limited range of convenience foods back in Brazil. But in London I finally made it happen. I was living by myself and cooking for myself, becoming more conscious about where food comes from.
I run Young Vegans. We are London's first vegan pie and mash stand. We started serving burritos which didn't quite work for us as the idea wasn't very solid. As soon as we switched our concept to pies, everything changed and our business grew enormously. Why pies? Pies were always a part of my childhood and it was always the centre of Sunday lunches back home. In Brazil, pies are one of the many street foods that people even eat on the beach. Apart from my love of flaky pastry, I think you can put anything you want inside a pie. We combined the Brazilian pie concept and the English love of comfort food. It worked perfectly.
We love being part of Hackney Downs Vegan Market. It was a game changer not only for us, but for all traders and also the vegan scene in London. I can remember the first HDVM when the traders weren't prepared for the amount of hungry vegans queueing up in the cold of December 2016. We all sold out very quickly and couldn't wait to come back. After that, it has been a success and a real destination for vegans. We actually get people asking us in our shop if we are “the pie people from Hackney Downs Vegan Market", which shows how prestigious this market has become. Apart from it being so famous and helping our business, this market gave me, a black immigrant woman from the favelas, an opportunity for which I will be always grateful.
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