Canadian rock climber and alpinist Denis Mikhailov has choked down his fair share of uninspiring, backcountry meals. But even though these preservative-laden meals zapped his energy and upset his digestive system, he had resigned himself to consuming them, believing he had no other options.
Then one day in the Bugaboos he met a mountain guide who had brought his own homemade dehydrated food on their expedition. He shared it with Denis and immediately “a light bulb went off.”
“For the first time, I tasted a dehydrated meal that had no preservatives and it tasted great!” he said.
In that moment, Denis concocted Nomad Nutrition, a brand that would go on to make delicious, nutrient-dense backcountry meals using revolutionary technology.
“I knew how to cook, but I knew nothing of how food dehydration works,” Denis said. So, naturally, he bought a used dehydrator off Craigslist for $20 and gave it a shot. Forty-eight hours and a mere two ounces of product later, Denis realized a table-top dehydrator wasn’t a scalable solution for a company.
After this unsuccessful attempt, Denis went into research mode, spending the next three months learning the various methods of food preservation. Denis soon discovered an innovative method of dehydrating called Radiant Energy in a Vacuum (REVdry™, for short). Through some networking, Denis connected with the CFO of the company that makes REVdry technology.
“I showed up at their doorstep with a bowl of curry and said ‘Hey, I’m Denis, can your machines dehydrate my curry?’”
Denis said the food scientists scratched their heads having never tried it before. But they took a stab at it, and after sampling the finished product, Denis knew he was on to something big.
“I immediately knew REVdry was going to change how people view dehydrated food, and Nomad Nutrition was going to lead that change,” he said.
With REVdry technology, the cell walls in food remain intact, resulting in a meal that still tastes, looks, feels, and smells like food. Peas and carrots actually look like peas and carrots, “as if the food was prepared just minutes ago by your gran-gran,” Denis said.
Additionally, the process retains more of the food's nutrients and is incredibly energy efficient. Instead of taking hours or even days to dehydrate like other methods, REVdry takes just minutes to do the job.
“Discovering REVdry has been a breakthrough for us,” Denis said. “Nomad Nutrition is a prime example of a company within a low-tech industry that’s successfully leveraged innovative new tech to its advantage in order to pull ahead of the pack. Nobody has been bold enough to innovate the dehydration process for ready-to-eat meals.”
“We select recipes that are inspirational, tasty, nutritious, and pleasurable to eat,” Denis said.
All meals are made from scratch in their state-of-the-art food processing facility located in Vancouver, BC, using ingredients from either local farmers or local organic distributors.
“I believe the food we put in our bodies directly correlates to our vitality and athletic performance,” Denis said.
Nomad Nutrition currently offers six vegan meals — all of them free of gluten, dairy, soy, nuts and GMOs — with two more expected later this year.
Even if backpacking and peak bagging isn't your thing, Nomad Nutrition can still be for you. The brand has customers who simply eat its meals while catching a flight or commuting to work.
“All of us at Nomad aspire to help feed everyone on the planet with healthy food,” Denis said.
And he means everyone; even those who may not know where their next meal is coming from. Last year the Nomad Nutrition initiated a crusade to fight food insecurity, one meal at a time. Dubbed Food For Everyone, patrons can purchase Nomad Nutrition meals on the brand’s website that are then given to kids, families, and the homeless. To date, nearly 300 meals have been donated through the program.
Whether he’s scaling a mountain or building a brand, Denis continues to confront challenges with a lot of hard work and enthusiasm.
“I love what I do, and I love working with like-minded individuals who share my passion for nutritious and healthy food,” Denis said.