The Deaf Chefs: Serving up delicious food in an inclusive environment

This week, Signature share more about The Deaf Chefs, two sisters who have set up a food truck with a twist. Their bright yellow truck not only serves delicious food but also acts as a space to educate individuals about British Sign Language (BSL).

  1. Hi, can you please both introduce yourselves to our Signature weekly readers.

Hello, we are Mandy and Coco, sisters from East London. Mandy’s the eldest, while Coco’s known for her determination. Together, we have built our food truck from the ground up. Last September, we launched the Deaf Chefs Truck- a testament to our hard work and perseverance. Despite the challenges, we made our dream a reality. Our journey reflects our determination and passion, inspiring others to chase their dreams too.

  1. Where did both of your passions for cooking derive from?

Our love for cooking traces back to our childhood and the lively atmosphere of family gatherings. Our parents were not the most culinary experts, but they knew how to host a memorable barbecue. Our home was always filled with guests, Dad manning the grill while Mum whipped up a delicious buffet, all carbs! These experiences sparked a passion for hosting and cooking in us. There is something special about uniting people through food, a sentiment we have carried into adulthood. Shows like Ready Steady Cook fuelled our excitement, and we would often play chef when Mum returned from grocery shopping.

  1. When did you decide to open the food truck and how did the idea come about?

Our journey into the world of food trucks began during lockdown. Coco had this idea of opening a hip café where both the Deaf community and everyone else could chill together. But when we investigated, the costs and practicalities seemed out of reach. That’s when Mandy came up with an idea of a food truck! Months later, Coco surprised Mandy with a caravan parked outside our house. She had no clue! And so, our adventure started.

4. What key message/s do you hope to promote with your vibrant yellow food truck?

With our vibrant yellow food truck, we aim to promote and create inclusive workplaces where younger generations feel empowered, regardless of hearing ability. As a first deaf led business food truck owners, we serve as role models, showcasing that success knows no boundaries.

Our food truck is a platform to educate about basic British Sign Language (BSL). By incorporating BSL into our interactions and signage, our primary goal is to spread joy and bring people together through delicious food and shared experiences.

We want everyone to feel welcome, to eat, enjoy, and have fun in a space that celebrates diversity and unity. Whether you are deaf or hearing, our truck is a place where everyone can come together and appreciate the richness of our community.

  1. How important is it for the Deaf community that spaces like yours exist?

The existence of spaces like ours is incredibly important for the Deaf community. It serves as a powerful reminder that deaf individuals can achieve anything they set their minds to- that their dreams are boundless and entirely achievable. By providing a welcoming environment where British Sign Language (BSL) customers can order comfortably in their preferred language, we together fostering a sense of pride, belonging, and confidence within the Deaf community.

  1. As you will both be aware of, the BSL GCSE is set to be introduced from September 2025, how important is this for both deaf and hearing students?

The introduction of the BSL GCSE from September 2025 is crucial for both deaf and hearing students. For deaf students, it provides validation and recognition of their language and culture, ensuring access to educational opportunities tailored to their needs.  It fosters inclusion and a sense of belonging within the education system. Learning BSL for hearing students promotes understanding, empathy, and communication with their deaf peers, breaking down barriers and fostering inclusivity. Moreover, it challenges the stigma associated with being labelled as disabled, promoting acceptance and equality. Overall, the BSL GCSE plays a pivotal role in creating more accessible and inclusive educational environment for all students.

  1. What are your favourite dishes to make?

Mandy’s all about meat and crafting mouth-watering sauces, while Coco cannot resist a delicious dirty wrap! Personally, I am a big fan of gyros-style dishes. Mandy takes charge in the kitchen, while Coco happily devours everything.

  1. Do you have any specific goals or aspirations that you would like to achieve as the Deaf Chefs?

We are taking things one step at a time and feeling proud of how far we have come. Every step of this journey has been a learning experience, and we are committed to putting Deaf Chefs on the map in our community. Dream big? Absolutely. We are aiming to be part of Glastonbury Festival one day! Beyond that, we are passionate about employing more deaf staff and spreading the message that anything is possible- and learning sign language is worth it!

Here at Signature, we would like to thank Mandy and Coco, the inspiring individuals behind The Deaf Chefs food truck for sharing their story with us. It has been great to learn about their journey to success and we wish them the best for the future. It is really great to see wonderful food being served with a blend of BSL!

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