"I made it, but even better, vegan."
Dhilon Devji is set to open his food truck, offering innovative vegan fast food dishes.
Dhil’s Eats started out during the pandemic in April 2020 as a food collection and delivery service, based in Syston, Leicestershire.
It grew in popularity and Dhilon says it is now time to launch a food truck operating in Aylestone Lane, Wigston.
Since he was eight, Dhilon has been passionate about food and the way it makes people feel.
He said: “A normal child at that age is into their toy cars, but I was too busy playing restaurant and making up customers.
“Yet at such a young age, I didn’t know that was my calling was until April 2020 when the pandemic hit and just after I had graduated from university achieving my degree in Physics.”
Dhilon gave up meat at 11 and turned to alternatives like Quorn but felt that they did not quite hit the spot.
“This always left a void in my stomach and a question in my head.
“Where can I find vegan chicken wings or seekh kebabs? I couldn’t find it so I made it, but even better, vegan.”
The vegan wings were one of his first creations and they contain a sugarcane ‘bone’ inside.
According to Dhilon, the ‘bone’ is not just for imitation. It also releases moisture when cooked to ensure the inside of the wings is juicy while the outside batter becomes crispy.
He says his plant-based seekh kebabs are what he is most proud of.
He told Leicester Mercury: “I took a leaf from Beyond Meat founder Ethan Brown who said ‘Animals spend massive amounts of energy consuming plants to make protein. We start directly with the plant material and build from that’.
“We use a pea, rice and soy protein mix to achieve a similar amino acid profile to beef/mutton.
“We then add flavours, water and fat in the right proportion.
“The plant-based fat actually melts at a similar temperature to beef tallow.
“So once the kebabs are cooked, it is juicy and has that meaty mouthfeel.”
Over the last two years, Dhilon’s other creations have included chilli cheese bites. The meat alternatives are available in dishes such as wing boxes, loaded naans and loaded fries.
“Dhil’s Eats is tasty and innovative and there’s nothing like it.
“You no longer have to feel like you’re missing out on tasty, meaty food.
“We deliver meaty meat-free dishes without the animal cruelty and the strain on the planet and its resources.”
On his decision to open a food truck, Dhilon is keen to bring an “LA food truck vibe” to Leicester.
“One of the downsides to running a food business from an enclosed kitchen is you get less interaction from customers.
“We want to revolutionise how food is serviced to the public.”
“In LA you get plenty of food trucks and you get to see the food made in front of you. You get to talk to the person who actually made your food.
“British weather isn’t always on our side but I still believe we can create that atmosphere where you can come by yourself, with a friend or partner and enjoy fresh street food and sit on the benches outside our food truck or enjoy it in your car!
“Since the pandemic, going out to eat is about more than just the food.
“Going out for food is about connecting with one another, food simply facilitates these connections and is the catalyst – our food truck will create that buzz and atmosphere.”
Dhil’s Eats food truck is set to launch on April 14, 2022.