Brandon Waller is the voice and creative force behind Bam’s Vegan food truck, which was, until recently, a weekend fixture at the Dallas Farmers Market. Waller has self-published a trio of e-books that are allowing him to continue to reach his audience—and a wider world of vegan-curious cooks—though his food truck has not been a presence at the Market since the pandemic forced closures mid-March.
Like many, Waller has had to struggle to find a way to adapt and secure new sources of revenue, once cut loose from a stable base. That’s partly where e-books came in. He always wanted that broader platform, though.
“I was always a person who wanted to reach more people than I can physically,” he says; it’s why he never wanted a full-blown restaurant. “I can’t cook for the whole world, but I can at least try my hardest to teach the world how to cook” with a book of recipes whether in New York, California, or Germany (yes, all of those places, and he has a following in England, too).
Waller launched his first e-book last year on July 4, with summertime vegan grilling recipes that made a splash. On the cover basks a halved pineapple with what looks like glazed, barbecued shrimp on skewers (of course they’re not; they’re made with konjac root, and easy to source, Waller tells you in the recipe notes). Look closely, and notice the crystals in the corner, part of an aesthetic that’s one element of Waller’s signature. It’s all fiesty and beachy and utterly like summer. Already, you’re hooked. Recipes—from “bomb-ass black bean burgers” or fried oyster-mushroom sandwiches to sauces like cashew queso, aioli (with charred lemon and black garlic), or a pineapple jalapeño barbecue sauce—actually have a good deal of crossover and mix-and-match.
The thing you should know about Bam’s Vegan’s e-cookbooks is that you will want to make the cashew sour cream and then be inclined to slather it on everything. Last night, I made a second batch, and I predict it will not last the week.
The second collection, Love Has Rules, was released in February on Valentine’s Day, and offers recipes to woo a beloved with chocolatey red velvet waffles cascading vegan mascarpone; angel-hair carbonara with vegan bacon and cashew “Parmesan”; and a balsamic portobello mushroom steak dinner. Waller put it together in a week—shooting, recipe creation, editing.
The most recent, Short Sunday, includes his photography and musings on philosophy and life. “The one that I dropped for the pandemic,” as he calls it, came at a time when he was fueled by uncertain times. “I was to a point where I couldn’t sleep, because I was worried about money,” Waller says. It came together in nine hours. “I want people to think bigger than they are because at the end of the day that’s all we have in terms of progression. So, that’s what I want to start giving to the cookbooks. Not just my personality, but I want to just let people think.”
For Waller, veganism itself has always been about thinking and, as he puts it, trying to “manifest higher.” One of his driving goals was to encourage the Black community to espouse a more plant-based diet that he sees as a powerful link to health. For him, with a degree in environmental science alongside strong community ties, it all swirls together: community, destiny, and food are one.
He is on the brink of opening a brand-new smoothie bar and commissary in the Irving-Las Colinas area, a place for raw-leaning wraps and bowls that will be a yin to his Bam’s Vegan burger-truck yang. The commissary kitchen will double to prep pantry goods, such as jars of sauces, like his popular, creamy The Truth Sauce and other items that you can take home with you and make your own.