Story & photo
by Jen Laliberte
Dawson City possesses a rare blend of old-time charm and contemporary conveniences that gives it a unique appeal. It seems fitting then that this beautiful little Klondike town is now graced by Aloha Tacos, a taco cart that Dawsonites Georgia Hammond, Allie Haydock and Blake Cameron couldn’t wait to get rolling.
Hitting the streets on the Victoria Day long weekend, Aloha Tacos is located on Second Avenue, on the west side of the street, across from Bonanza Market.
During the day Aloha Tacos has a rotating menu of tacos as well as homemade soups, salads and sides to make delicious, complete meals that accommodate vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free diets. At night Aloha Tacos has hearty and hot burritos and satisfying nachos, offering a full stomach for a good price, perfect for the diner on the move.
In addition to serving up daytime tacos and late night burritos, Aloha also offers catering in the Dawson area for all event types, sizes and budgets. There is something for just about everyone, and Aloha Tacos is bound to be one bumping little cart this summer.
The trio behind Aloha have known each other for years and have all cooked in various capacities in and around Dawson for years too. Georgia Hammond, a born-and-raised Dawsonite, learned many of her culinary skills on the fly, cooking at placer mines, exploration camps, chili cook-offs and dinner parties. Growing up in a food-centred household gave her a good foundation.
“I’d like to think I bring a good balance of my mom’s professionalism and my dad’s spontaneity to the table,” Georgia explains.
Allie Haydock fell in love with cooking as a volunteer in Dawson. Allie expresses that “volunteering is such an important element of our community and as I settled in Dawson, cooking and baking for community events like Music Fest and KIAC Youth Art Enrichment was what I could offer as a volunteer.”
After an eight-month stint at Toronto’s George Brown College where she obtained her certificate in chef training, Allie was back in Dawson doing Sunday dinners at Bombay Peggy’s and working at Zorro’s Cantina in the rink alongside Georgia.
Working together at the rink cantina, Georgia and Allie realized they needed to create their own dream jobs and the idea for Aloha Tacos was born. They asked longtime friend and fellow chef Blake Cameron to join the team.
Blake received his Red Seal through his training and apprenticeship with Le Cordon Bleu Institute and brings his formal culinary skills and a strong kitchen background to the cart.
Georgia describes the diversity of the Aloha Tacos crew: “I think we have a really balanced set of skills. Blake has so much experience; Allie and I often find ourselves saying something like ‘maybe we should just ask Blake,’ because there are so many things that you just have to have done before.
“Allie brings sophistication to the mix; she’s got an eye for style and food trends that my moose hunting in homemade-clothes background does not provide.
“Where Blake and Allie both have extensive technical skills and the knowledge to do things the right way, I think my experience in remote and limited kitchens has made me a good improviser and problem-solver.”
Together they have the passion, energy and know-how to dazzle Dawson and its many visitors with a taco experience they won’t soon forget. A mobile venue seems a perfect fit, and one that allows the three young entrepreneurs to get into the business.
Allie explains the more feasible start-up costs allow specialty food vendors like Aloha Tacos to be “more able to take other risks with concepts and menu ideas,” bringing people a gourmet eating experience that takes street food to a new level.
As Blake says, “Folks in Dawson know good food.”
It takes skill and creativity to impress the local population, and attract tourists and visitors – a challenge that Aloha Tacos has accepted.