Cities around the nation have embraced the food truck craze, but Atlanta has opened its arms especially wide to the trend because of its blossoming culinary scene. Delivering top-notch meals at startling affordable rates, Good Food Truck has risen to the top in quality and diligence. Here's our Q&A with Jessamine Starr, one-half of the magnificence and good food boss extraordinaire.
BANG! Where did your cooking experience come from? Is this all from your own volition or have you been trained anywhere?
Good Food Truck Both George and I have worked in different kitchens throughout the years but I think our real experience came through a fascination with exotic ingredients and a love of eating the unexpected.
BANG! There has surely been a surge of food truck popularity in the Atlanta area, along with other cities across the nation. What makes Good Food Truck stand out? Congratulations on the Creative Loafing Best Food Truck 2011 Award, by the way!
Good Food Truck Thanks! That was really exciting! Well we are definitely doing it our own way. We are serving food that might make people step out of their comfort zone. We’ve all had hot dogs and beans and rice but hot dogs in a french toast bun topped with spicy mustard and syrup or beans and rice in a savory waffle cone is not normal. So I guess what makes us different is that we are asking the public to go out on a limb- and not only eat from a food truck but to eat something they have never experienced and trust us that it will taste Good!
BANG! Where did your cooking centralize before the food truck? Where could people get your grub?!
Good Food Truck There was no good food truck food before the truck. Poodles and Savory Waffle Cones and Chutney Grilled Cheese and International Rice Crispy Treats were all things that were invented to be served from a truck window. We did eat before the Good Food Truck though so i guess people could come over to our house for dinner pre truck.
BANG! What do you primarily pull from each cuisine you combine with the Southern Comfort base?
Good Food Truck We are big fans of what I call “equator “ food- which is food that comes from all regions between the tropic of cancer and the tropic of capricorn. So Thailand, India, Mexico, the Caribbean, Northern Africa, ect. They all share a similar combination of flavors- chili peppers (spicy), citrus or tamarind (sour), unrefined palm or cane sugar or the addition of dried fruits to savory dishes (sweet), and salt. They also use a lot of similar spices like cinnamon, mustard seeds, star anise, cardamon, cumin, cilantro. And why do we mix these offerings with southern food. Well both George and I are from the south so we cannot deny our love of collard greens and buttermilk biscuits. Really in the end we are just cooking food that we really like.
BANG! I’ve heard from other chefs and cooks that they are never truly satisfied with their creations. Has your palette been quenched yet by the things you make?
Good Food Truck I think there really is no such thing as perfection ever but I also firmly believe as Julia Childs said-“No matter what happens in the kitchen, you should never apologize.” And the most wonderful thing about food is that it is never the same twice- even if the ingredients are the same. We cannot forget how much outside factors influence the way things taste so your mood, the weather, when and where you are eating can really change the deliciousness factor...and that’s one thing that’s lovely about a food truck- the outside factors are always in flux.
BANG! Fusion food seems to be the resounding crowned jewel of the Good Food Truck experience. What other flavors do you think would be interesting to incorporate?
Good Food Truck Well this summer we will be introducing ‘Watermelon Snow’. We have a beautiful Japanese Shave Ice machine (i call it a machine- but it is really just a very sharp blade and a hand crank that turns the block of ice). We freeze a skinned watermelon and then put it in this contraption and it turns into the most amazing light and fluffy watermelon snow. It can then be topped with different fruit or nuts (I prefer spicy pumpkin seed brittle). So it is a sweet and cold treat but all natural and healthy. We are hoping that several of our carts will be offering it at local farmers markets this summer.
BANG! Can foodies look forward to a store in the future or do you plan on staying mobile?
Good Food Truck We will not be stationary.
BANG! How much do you think the whole food truck boom has enhanced the local economy? Local farmers and home grown food have definitely experienced an upswing.
Good Food Truck Well I know it’s made things more exciting and it’s allowed local entrepreneurs like ourselves to make a living. Honestly I don’t know how much food trucks have helped local farmers. We do our best to buy locally (which maybe helps the farmer buy a new pair of overalls) and we do grow most of our own herbs, blueberries, and squash. I wouldn’t say the majority of Atlanta food trucks serve locally grown produce. I do think food trucks bring vibrance and commerce to dead areas- so in parts of town that were once just parking lots or depressed can be sparked alive with a food truck.
BANG! Which demographic does Good Food Demographic mostly serve? Business men, students, etc?
Good Food Truck We serve a pretty wide demographic but our truck can be found at a lot of art and music events. Yet we also cater plenty of office, wedding, and holiday parties. We hope to make everyone full and happy but we don’t serve soda or chips or french fries so that does weed out some.
Be sure to grab a completely worth-while bite to eat at the Good Food Truck and become a culinary roadie. Conveniently, an opportunity to do so has been set for Valentine’s Day with the Lover’s Lunch, a free meal to celebrate the holiday with your special someone at Woodruff Arts Center. (12-2p.m.)
Outside of this event you should also think about hiring them for your next event as your catering - you will see that the Good Food Truck is pretty darn flexible and can design around your (within reason) needs and desires!