You do win friends with salad. After years working as a fashion designer and nail artist, Christina Culver discovered that her vegan salads were winning hearts all over her hometown of Vancouver, and Culver City Salads was born. From lunch delivery to a solar powered food truck that can always be found at the city’s coolest events, the blond beauty managed to turn a passion for cooking into a movement. We’ve been addicted since day one, so we had to get her to spill on how it all went down and give us some expert insight on what’s next after kale.
THIS WHOLE THING BEGAN WITH LUNCH DELIVERIES TO FRIENDS. HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO MAKE IT A CAREER? I wouldn’t call it a decision exactly, more of just a fly by the seat of my panties kind of move. Culver City Salads was born when I was trying to make a go of it as a nail artist (early 2011) about four years after putting my fashion label Christina Darling to bed. That wasn’t proving to keep me busy enough so it was time to figure out what was next. I’ve always loved cooking for my family (I’m the second oldest of six kids) and friends. It’s also my yoga. At the end of a long day I’m happiest cooking up something new and feel good. I’d gone vegan a few years prior and really loved the challenge of making complete, well balanced meals that no one would guess lacked animal proteins – vegan trickery I like to call it.
Two of my closest friends suggested I start making some of my classic entree size salads for them and drop them at their offices for lunch and this soon snowballed into large office deliveries (Lululemon and Hootsuite were regulars). The first year I spent running around the city delivering on foot, transit and borrowing cars. What started as a word of mouth and Facebook fan page soon turned into a website where you had to order the day prior, and we were retailing off the Juice Truck and a few other places. By the spring of 2013 our food truck Granny Smith hit the road. This is when my little sister Sarah came to my rescue, we’ve been working together ever since. Our focus has shifted more to larger corporate deliveries and catering and retail. In the past year we’ve done weddings, presidential events, retreats, sporting events, store openings – some on and some off the truck. We’re now talking about opening our own space and, well, about a million other things.
And in terms of this being it for me, well it so totally is… for now. Things are moving so incredibly fast, but food and especially healthy food is a constant and something that we all need. I am so lucky – I spend my days surrounded by nothing but pure health and super grateful people that are working to be the best versions of themselves.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW SOLAR POWERED FOOD TRUCK! Oh man – I’m still pinching myself over this! From the get-go I was dead set against running our kitchen appliances off of a generator. We decided to launch an Indiegogo campaign to raise $20,000 to put towards turning our little truck energy efficient. Just as we were gearing up to launch the campaign my friend told me about the prep fridge his family business had been developing for three years that was basically going to answer my prayers (I love good timing). It runs off 20% the energy of a regular fridge. The campaign was a success, we hit our goal! We got the first of these fridges – the prototype. The solar panels will happen in the next few months, we’re just in the process of re-doing all the research and weighing our options. Solar is so insanely progressive! I want to do this once and I want to do it right.
SO HAS KALE HAD ITS 15 MINUTES? WHAT’S THE NEW NEW IN VEGETABLES? Kale is basically an international celebrity! Just for the record… I’ve been using it since the beginning. Everyone knows that the darker the green the better, so if you’re sick of the hype collard greens, chard and micro-greens are waiting for you! I obviously love vegetables like nobody’s business and I really try not to discriminate. When I’m at the grocery store and something jumps out at me I always grab it and treat it as an opportunity to play. My most recent culinary adventure involved sunchokes and tomatillos. How about trying to eat the rainbow in fruit and veggies everyday? I dare you.