Meet the Leeds sisters changing the city's takeaway scene with vibrant vegan dishes at Soul Box
A scroll through Soul Box's Instagram page is enough to make your mouth water.
It's filled with colourful snaps of tasty vegan street food, from platters of creamy corn salad and loaded fries to sweet chilli jackfruit wings and sumptuous desserts.
Launched in June 2020, the vegan delivery business is the brainchild of sisters Maye Brown and Monifa Ojelade from Meanwood.
They spotted a gap in the market for their home-cooked food, inspired by cuisines from around the world, and they quickly built up a cult following online.
The business has gone from strength to strength during lockdowns, as people looked to expand their palate with new food at home.
Maye and Monifa regularly change up their plant-based menu, delivering street food boxes, platters and drinks across West Yorkshire.
"We felt like no one was selling the kind of food that we were creating at home," Maye, 29, told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“There were a lot of people doing pop-ups, so we thought we’d jump on it and get the ball rolling - getting people to try our food.
“The market was there to jump into and bring something different to the table.”
“Food is a big part of our family, our family gatherings have always been orientated around food,” Monifa, 20, added. “And we both love cooking."
Maye has worked as a chef in several restaurants in Leeds and Monifa juggles the business while studying full time.
They cook the dishes at home and deliver the food themselves, bringing in the support of family and friends when it's busy with orders.
Soul Box's spring offering is a vegan street food tray including two loaded hot dogs, with barbecue aubergine 'bacon', sweet jerk and plantain or caramalised onions, and plenty of sides.
It can be accompanied with their peach cobbler or cinnamon roll coffee milkshakes, with plant-based milk.
“Our food is vibrant, unique and colourful," Maye added.
"It’s full of flavour and it’s really fun.
"We like to just get in the kitchen and create something different. We get a lot of inspiration from Indian, African, Brazilian and Jamaican food - they use lots of vegetables, fruit and colours.
“We play around and have fun with the dishes. We trust our cooking skills, so we know in the end it will come out really good.”
Maye is vegetarian, and Monifa vegan, so improving the plant-based takeaway offering in Leeds was important to the pair.
They use 100 per cent biodegradable packaging and want to keep their commitment to saving the planet as they expand their business.
Monifa said: "Having a plant-based menu is important to us; we take the flavours of meals you might recognise but make it vegan, so it’s tasty but it’s also healthier.”
"It gives people the chance to try different foods that they wouldn’t normally try," Maye added.
"We create vegan fried chicken, for example, it brings in the meat eaters and will hopefully help them cut out some of the meat from their diets.”
The sisters dream of owning their own permanent site in Leeds.
"We’ve got big plans," Maye promised.
"We're going to have tuk tuks and pop-up shops, restaurants and we want to branch out all over the UK."
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