Tabay Atkins has accomplished a lot in his 16 years. He is a vegan chef, reiki master, pro yogi, the face of Nike yoga and the proud co-owner of a vegan food truck with his mom. The OC resident’s journey began as a young boy when he witnessed the debilitating effects of his mother’s struggle with cancer. A devout yogi herself, she was committed to keeping a positive mindset and maintaining her practice. Tabay knew from then on that he had found his “dharma.”
We recently chatted with Tabay about his vegan food truck, cooking, yoga and more.
Please tell us a little about your vegan food truck.
Tabay’s Mindful Kitchen is all vegan and all delicious! I designed the menu to create tasty, affordable, and healthier versions of everyday favorites, in the hopes of helping people realize that you do not need to give up the foods you love when switching to a plant-based diet. You can still eat the foods you love, while keeping your mind, body, and planet healthy.
You’re a professional yogi, a vegan chef, nutritionists, reiki master, the face of Nike yoga and you’re 16! That’s amazing. Please tell us how you manage it all.
I may be doing a lot of things at once, but they are all focused on wellness, so it is easy for me to stay grounded. The funny thing is, if I am ever feeling overwhelmed by my work, I do more work, because my work is to help people stay centered, especially through yoga. All I need to do is book myself for a private yoga session!
How would you describe your 10-year-old self?
My 10-year-old self was very funny, playful, and determined to take a 200-hour vinyasa yoga teacher training, start teaching yoga, and make the world a better place. Not much has changed since (except that I am now 500-hour certified). Although I have been very mature career wise, I always have been, and always will be, my playful, funny self. I may grow old, but I’ll never grow up!
Did you always enjoy cooking? What is your favorite dish to make?
Cooking has always been a big part of my life, and I have always enjoyed it. My favorite dish to make is called Khoresht Karafs. It is an Iranian stew made with celery.
Did you grow up in Southern California? What are some of your fondest childhood memories?
I grew up in Southern California and have so many great childhood memories here! My fondest childhood memories are the times I’ve spent with my family. I have a very big family with members living across the globe. It is always a pleasure to spend time with them when they come here or when I go there. Another great memory was learning to play cricket.
Tell us about your mom? What are some things you learned from her?
My mom is amazing! She is loving, caring, supportive of my various ventures, and selfless. Through her experience with cancer, I learned how to turn a negative situation into a positive one. She taught me to work hard for what I believe in and never give up on my dreams. She taught me to be kind and help those in need. She also taught me how to cook! She is the best chef ever and the one who inspired me to be a chef.
What is the best part of working with your mom? What’s the most challenging part?
The best part about working with my mom is that we both love what we are doing and we get to do it together. We love our jobs and we love each other. The most challenging part is remembering that she is (almost) always right and knows everything. Sometimes I forget that and think that I am right, but she is right 99.9% of the time.
Best life advice you received so far?
The best life advice I have received so far is that there are no accidents. Everything happens and doesn’t happen for a reason. When we resist change, difficulties, or certain situations, we are resisting a carefully thought out plan that is actually in our favor. We must trust that the universe has our back.
What would you tell other young people your age who are trying to figure out the teen and early adulthood years.
The teenage and early adulthood years can be challenging, because it is in this stage of life that we must make many decisions. Decisions that make us who we are. I am going to make it really easy for you. Are you ready? Watch this… Choose kindness. With any decision you make, if it is a decision that is rooted in kindness, you can’t go wrong.
When not working, where will we find you?
When I am not working, you might find me tending to my garden, spending time with family and friends, building Lego, or antique shopping.
What are some of your favorite spots and activities in and around L.A.?
Some of my favorite L.A. spots are the Griffith Observatory, the La Brea Tar Pits and the Getty Museum.