“Do you have a job yet?” The voice on the other end of the line asked.
The year was 1991, I had recently graduated from the California Culinary Academy and had just, two days prior, returned from a month long driving tour of Europe with my buddy Dale.
“No.” I said, with no apparent alacrity, anticipating the crush of credit card debt that was headed my way.
And so it all began, the call that changed the direction of my life. Within a week’s time I was cooking for none other than Mike Myers, of Wayne’s World fame, on the set of the movie ‘So I Married An Axe Murderer.’ While there are many tales to tell of, trips far and away, catering on movie sets this one leads us, you and I gentle reader, to the fact that I spent many hours working in a mobile kitchen before they were called food trucks, even before they were called taco trucks. “But Tom, what does this all mean?” I hear you asking, “This is just weird.” Fair enough.
Last night was VALLEJO FOOD TRUCK MANIA, down at the waterfront, organized by a company who, unapologetically, calls themselves SactoMoFo. Which I am assuming stands for Sacramento Mobile Food . . . but, am not entirely convinced. The night was brisk yet I was hungry, as was my latest patron Nicole Hodge – League of Chefs. You see, by day I am a General Contractor and recently Ms. Hodge asked me to help brush up an old storage room and turn it into a new little gourmet food stop called Provisions, the Grand Opening will be on June 16th. So after I had brushed up for the day, I brushed off and asked the charming Ms. Hodge if she cared to join me for a little food truck frenzy.
A quick drive later found us at the waterfront. Nicole went for a lovely and crisp falafel salad whereas my contractor roots bid-me-buy the bbq tri tip sandwich and meal. One of the fun things about ordering food truck food is the back and forth. I ordered my bbq, then we walked over and ordered Nicole’s falafel, then we walked back and picked up my bbq, then we walked back and grabbed the salad. All in all I think we added at least 500 steps, enough to put us over our 10,000 needed for the day I am sure. With calorie counting aside we took our seats at the common table and set fork to food to mouth.
The falafel was both savory and crisp. My bbq was gently sweet and cooked perfectly. I always love these gathering of wandering culinarians. Whenever I am near one of these richly decorated kitchens I remember with fondness the early mornings I spent in the desert in Kayenta, on the Navajo reservation, cooking on the movie ‘Tall Tales.’ The morning sunrises there were positively magical as the wide expanse of the Reservation came into view. All-the-while I am preparing eggs benedict for Patrick Swayze. The early morning chill on location would often drive the film’s producers to step into the truck to stay warm while they awaited their meals. The film industry has a certain hierarchy. Producers signed the paychecks so, they could stand wherever they wanted to stand.
Kayenta is the past, the Vallejo waterfront is my present and my future. I love how we have this great space to host food trucks and Pirate Festivals and to well, just gather. If you have not taken time to stop in at the Vallejo Food Truck Mania, keep an eye peeled to Vallejo is Awesome or Visit Vallejo on Facebook and zip on down, the next one is on June 27th. Chances are good I will see you there.
Until next time,
Eat Well and Smile Often