For those who’ve only dreamed of own a food truck, the idea of what it’s like can be quite different than the reality. A recent article titled It's a different world inside the food truck; what it takes to put on Walnut Wednesday gave a truly unique look inside the life of a food truck proprietor.
Brenda Cain writes, “It's high noon and you make your way to the end of the line of your favorite food truck at Walnut Wednesday. As you stand there awaiting your turn to order, have you ever wondered what the day is like for those working the trucks? Leah Brown, owner of Betty's Bombass Burgers, said most trucks start gathering around the park as early as 8 a.m. to claim "the best spots" and start readying for "the two and a half hours of madness that is to come."
Walnut Wednesday is open from 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Walnut Wednesdays take place around Perk Plaza at Chester Commons at the corner of E. 12th and Walnut between June and September. Generally, trucks arrive with just one or two workers. An additional two to three staff members will show up just before the lunch crowds arrive. Most of the prep has been done the day before in commissaries, or in kitchens if the truck is an extension of a brick and mortar restaurant.
Fired-up Taco Truck manager John Kress said his chefs spend the day before making empanadas – the truck's most popular entrée – along preparing the meats, salsas and toppings for the tacos in a commissary. Claude Booker, of Sides to Go, which serves Louisiana and Carolina delicacies, spends the day prior smoking his meats for 14 hours, as well as concocting crawfish étoufee and Brunswick Stew.
Somnez Bozkurt, whose Chef Grey Wolf truck serves Mediterranean specialties, arrives with just his wife. The couple run the truck alone. Bozkurt makes all his sauces and chops all his fresh salads before his arrival. The day's 50-pounds of lamb begin cooking over an open flame upon arrival, while Bozkurt makes the final prep on his fresh sides.
Workers spend the first two hours getting their trucks ready for business – making sure the average 50-square-foot interior is clean, ingredients are within easy reach and optimal temperatures for food safety are maintained. Kress said cleanliness and health standards are tighter for food trucks than they are for many restaurants. "We are a small group (of workers in the truck) so it is easy for us to hold one another accountable and maintain the standards that the city, and we, set for ourselves," he explained.”
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