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A truckload of food to discover

Wednesday, 24th April, 2019 3:59pm

Food trucks... one might be forgiven thinking of greasy burgers and floppy chips. Visits to summer beaches and country shows seem to confirm that you can get good food only in restaurants.

That all changed when I heard that Diana Dodog, winner of Masterchef Ireland, opened a food truck business in Courtmacsherry and when I was asked last year to review Nico’s Kitchen in Schull for a client. My expectation was below any conceivable measure, thinking of food trucks of the past.

The new generation of outside caterers doesn’t flip burgers but create amazing flavours with outstanding produce. The portions are generous, satisfying and you might be transported into Hungary, Cuba and the rest of the world.

Operating a food truck gives you freedom a chef might not be able to experience in a restaurant kitchen and you can go where the people are rather than waiting for them to find your eatery.

I personally wouldn’t like to be in a food truck in the scorching sun but that’s the time when food trucks seem to be most successful. A spot at a beach on a sunny day will have people swarming around, ready to eat some great food. I wish that shows like the Cork Summer Show would stop using the generic burger chip vans but attract businesses like Nico and Diana, showcasing how well we do food here in Cork – after all, the show is meant to showcase the best of Cork.

Annie’s Rotisserie is a staple at festivals and Mahon Farmer’s Market for years, using chickens from her brother’s farm.

Food trucks are also a new fashion at weddings, the list of wedding food trucks gets longer each week and I can see the appeal (I watch way too much ‘Escape to the Chateau’) when elegantly dressed guests are making their way to a vintage truck to tuck into an authentic Mexican taco or sip away on a cocktail made right in front of you.

Running a food truck business is not as romantic as it might sound and what you see at the truck is only the front end of things. The backbone is the planning, preparing and calculating.

Making money from a truck isn’t easy; you are depending on a lot of things like the weather, location, advertising etc. It’s not a thing of ‘build and they will come’ but more like being the ‘Pied Piper of Hamelin’.

Consumers are now more concerned on food provenance, health factors and different flavours and they are sick of the same old chippy bun (at least I hope they are). A food truck in Dublin is offering Poutine, a Canadian ‘delicacy’ of chips, cheese curd and gravy (yeap, it’s a thing in Canada – I tried it and it isn’t half bad).

Taking experiences from travels can give a food truck the edge. Diana is originally from Hungary and her cooking showcases the deep flavours of warm spices that make you smile.

Let me know where you think the best food trucks are and I will try them out (at least if they are in Cork).

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