Food trucks bring local chefs to the community
Jun 23, 2017 11:20AM
By Travis Barton
West Valley Food Truck League night draws all kinds of tasty treats and people. (Keyra Kristoffersen/City Journals)
By Keyra Kristoffersen | [email protected]
Bouncing to the beat of the Red Rock Ramblers—a Salt Lake bluegrass band that sports a hammered dulcimer along with the guitar, banjo, bass, and mandolin—West Valley residents found themselves enticed by the smells of a gathering of food trucks as eclectic as West Valley itself on May 25.
The meet up, which took place at Fairbourne Station, is a collaboration between West Valley City and the Food Truck League of Utah that takes place most Thursday evenings throughout the summer.
“I love food trucks. During the summer, I eat at them a couple of times a month,” said West Valley native Richard Allred.
The Food Truck League is a platform to connect food truck owners with events and customers along the Wasatch Front. With more than 100 active food trucks festivals, cities and private functions have an easy way to connect with the gourmet, the unusual, and the delicious with endless menu options from local chefs who can come to them.
“People love to be able to buy locally and support local businesses,” said Taylor Harris, general manager of the league. “These people are so creative.”
Harris, along with his business partner and Director of Operations Todd Christiansen, saw the need to bring easier access to food trucks, both individually and on a wider scale to help build local businesses. The first Food Truck League event was in May 2015, and they have continued to grow exponentially.
“We just live down the street and we always see them so we thought, ‘Hey, let’s try it out,’” said Connie Voa. “This is our first time. I think this is now our every Thursday dinner, so I don’t have to cook.”
The food truck scene offers a wide variety of culinary options. Maxime Ambreza came to Utah to teach French, looked around and saw that there weren’t any other French guys making crepes and decided to open Monsieur Crepes, using his certification as crepe maker from France.
“It’s my grandmother’s recipe. That’s what makes it kind of special,” said Ambreza. “And people love it so we’re happy.”
His wife, Raysha, who is from Puerto Rico, thinks it’s not just the authentic crepe recipe that people come for.
“More than the crepes, I think people like the experience. People come to our trailer and try to speak with him in French,” she said.
The couple started last July with just the two of them, which they soon realized was overwhelming due to high demand.
“This summer we are ready, we have more people working with us. I was inside making the crepes and now I’m outside with the people and speaking French, and people love the experience,” said Ambreza.
Owning a successful food truck is a lot more work than people think.
“People don’t realize how hard these food truck owners work. They get up early in the morning to prep their food for a three-hour event and don’t get to be done and go home until really late,” said Harris.
Spencer Herrera, who runs Facil Taqueria with her chef-husband, Dallas Olson and friend Maizee Thompson, agrees that the learning curve can be the biggest obstacle to finding a groove.
“It’s crazy because when you start a food truck, you’re everything. You’re the dishwasher, you’re maintenance, we’re also mechanics by owning a food truck. We became accountants, marketers,” said Herrera. “What people don’t realize is that driving around in a kitchen doesn’t make sense. We learned that bungee cords were our best friends.”
Facil Taqueria is a farm-to-table concept that sources all of its produce through local farmers and uses ethically-raised meats, including using Matt Moganti of M & M Farms who also supplies the Copper Onion restaurant.
“That’s what I love about our food truck, we’re trying to do a lot of things that a restaurant does, just out of a truck,” said Herrera. “We just try to be good to the planet and make good food.”
The Food Truck League just launched a new app in 2017 call the Food Truck League Finder, across all platforms, that helps connect more people to new and favorite trucks around the valley.
For information about upcoming Food Truck League events or how to schedule a catering event, go to: https://thefoodtruckleague.com/