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Paleo Food Truck and Catering

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SO life is a mess, and sink or swim. I had to sell my car last week, the market is slow as all hell recently and 2 of my regular customers for my bakery moved. SO I am shifting my focus to catering and my dream food truck.
I just finished redoing my food manager certifications, setting up contracts for whole sale accounts with companies. Cleaning out and fixing the back of my buildings shop area for a commissionary to park a food truck in.
I am working with Chef Units out of Houston for a truck build....due to the nature of Celiac and UC I am having them special build a food truck from scratch all new equipment and a bathroom that opens to the outside (for obvious reasons). Right now we are in the quoting phase and design plans.

I am seeking grants and help from my local city with this truck, getting a fundraiser up and going, and seeking financing for the truck. I am looking at a 120K...I use about 100k to build the truck, then the other 20k to start the business, pay permits, insurance, LLC fees, outfit the kitchen, and get product to start.

GOD I WISH we had more celiacs here.....I could use some opinions on menu and some help....I would honestly out of paranoia only trust a fellow celiac to work in my truck. Just a personal view...would would anyone else with this disease trust a normal person in a FOOD TRUCK to cook you a 100% safe dish?

Menu in the business plan looks like this Comments please
Mixed veggie stir fry using locally sourced vegetables, and meats with options of carb free noodles or over carb free rice seasoned with a non-soy or wheat sauce from coconut secret in either a teriyaki or garlic base. Also have choices for meat alternatives.  
Bun less Burgers, with either Turkey Burgers, or Beef, with the standard burger options of Bacon, Pickles, onions, condiments like Secret Sauce, Ketchup, Mustard. And Diary free cheese like Smoked Gouda, Mozzarella And possible Lettuce Wraps 
Pasta with konjac based carb free noodles with homemade thick sauce and served with a side of a nut-based garlic bread or toast from Mikey’s.  
Fresh Fries seasoned with blends from Big Axe Spice company and melted cheeses. Thinking making it our own and option to serve with Pizza Sauce. 
   Breakfast lines will consist of Eggs, Turkey Bacon, Sausage, Low Carb English Muffins from Mikey’s, and Muffins tops from them. We are also thinking of using their grain free tortillas as a Add in Item.                 
   Other options will be considered for limited or menu rotations such as kabobs, steaks, shredded Pork, Baked Fish, breakfast bowls, and grain free pancakes.  
We will be doing catering and can be booked for events, I have chafers, food pans, etc. And can do crowds up to 200 (calculated)

Food truck is outfitted with the following by build specs.
15" CharBroiler Grill
36" Countertop Griddle
6 burner 36" Range with 27" oven
15" 40lb deep fryer (should I upgrade to a 21" 70lb?)
24" Salamander Melter (broiler)
Small microwave
48" Three Pan Steam Table
30" 23 cubic foot Freezer
30" 20cubic food Fridge
24" glass front 14cubic food beverage fridge (will have cane sugar cokes, water, zevia soda, and sparkling water)
42" TV with Munu Software
Point of Sale system, cash drawer, credit card reader.

WITH the Above give me other menu ideas for quick (under 6mins) food ideas and menu items that are paleo and grain free.

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Posted (edited)

I am just going to answer your question about trusting a non-Celiac.  At the gluten-free bakery I work at, we have people working there who do not have Celiac.  Mostly we try to get people who have some connection to food allergies - either in themselves or a family member.  But a couple of our best employees do not eat gluten-free outside of work.  No gluten or nuts are allowed (we are a nut free facility,too) and you can't eat nuts for hours before you come to work.  There is no gluten for them to mess up and serve. They can't bring a gluten lunch into the bakery.  So I think you could safely have someone without Celiac work there.  Someone who wants to work with food, will enjoy it. 

I think you want to appeal to either everyone and just happen to be gluten-free - like a Mexican truck could do with corn tortillas and no flour ones.  Or you might want to refine yourself to a vegetarian or vegan or paleo or something like that.  That way you get people who don't have to eat gluten-free but want Paleo, for instance.  Or you make something so yummy and different and are the only place to get them - like Poke Bowls or crepes - and no one really knows or cares the food is   gluten-free except those that care about it. Food trucks are really popular right now - even in small towns.  I know my little community is all excited that a food truck is coming for our community party this Saturday.  Another town even further out in KS has a food truck that is very popular - hoagies and meatball sandwiches.  

We use an ipad with a card reader.  But you need some sort of phone service or internet for that.  I have seen artists that go to a lot of outdoor shows use the card reader on their phone.  Might save you a  little in the beginning.

That's my 2 cents.  Good luck.


Edited by kareng

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Yes the truck is "Paleo" it will be in the name...I would have mentioned that but trying to avoid self advertising with giving out the name.
Bunless burgers with lettuce wraps dairy free cheese and primal kitchen condiments
Ribboned or French fried potatoes seasoned with my own vegan chili cheese seasoning or big axe spice blends
Simple meat cuts.
Stir Fry bowls, meat bowls, breakfast bowls
Using Mikey's English muffins and tortilla for grain free versions in various dishes, dairy free cheese spreads on things and miyoko for a melted option.
Towns Czech so might see about working with kielbasa, and a few Czech dishes, bit a hit come the polka festival with griddle cooked sauerkraut, and sausage, hash and sausage, etc. We have a local gluten free kielbasa company to boot here in Texas and stocked in our local stores.

Marketing strategy involves working with the city for festivals, and farmers markets, catering contracts with a local church, utlizing roaming hunger and foodtruckin to book for events and we will be the first 100% gluten free truck in the DFW area.
My town is home of some large distribution centers and companies like sterilite, lowes, petsmart, tamko, etc. Setting up to serve lunch near there places for convenience sake will be good.
Lately the local papers have been talking about polls and people wanting healthier options, I tend to play on this with the paleo and gluten free, even offering turkey burgers, and turkey bacon.

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Posted (edited)

I've been making pudding pops with these molds from the river company.  They are quick and easy to make.  Might be a hit in  a warm place like Texas.  Get the instant pudding so you don't even have to heat the coconut milk up.   There are also sugar-free pudding mixes.   These molds would not work for a food truck.  You'd need to get ones that take wooden popsicle sticks instead.  I've used these with coconut milk and almond milk.  In the chocolate ones I dribbled in Enjoy Life choc chips too.  Not bad at all.  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000G32H3Y/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

So far I've made banana cream and chocolate and pistachio pops.  The pistachio ones made me sick so I don't do those anymore.

I wouldn't mind eating there if there were gluten eaters working in it.  As long as they followed the rules KarenG suggested.

Edited by GFinDC

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17 minutes ago, GFinDC said:

I've been making pudding pops with these molds from the river company.  They are quick and easy to make.  Might be a hit in  a warm place like Texas.  Get the instant pudding so you don't even have to heat the coconut milk up.   There are also sugar-free pudding mixes.   These molds would not work for a food truck.  You'd need to get ones that take wooden popsicle sticks instead.  I've used these with coconut milk and almond milk.  In the chocolate ones I dribbled in Enjoy Life choc chips too.  Not bad at all.  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000G32H3Y/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

So far I've made banana cream and chocolate and pistachio pops.  The pistachio ones made me sick so I don't do those anymore.

I wouldn't mind eating there if there were gluten eaters working in it.  As long as they followed the rules KarenG suggested.

Would have to use canned coconut milk and perhaps gelatin...I would say agar agar but that stuff is super expensive.
NOTE I can not use "instant pudding" the stuff contains corn.....I am allergic to it and hte truck is Paleo.
But Freezing coconut milk with sweetener into pops would be great, I could mix in Enjoy Life chips like your said for coconut chip pops.
Now that I think about it a mix like  luvice, a bulk food service bag for say 2 gallons made will cost me $35- 4oz pops $2 each $128 so a $93 profit minus the cost for the sticks and labor to blend and pour http://luvicecream.com/nc-flavors/

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6 hours ago, Ennis_TX said:

Would have to use canned coconut milk and perhaps gelatin...I would say agar agar but that stuff is super expensive.
NOTE I can not use "instant pudding" the stuff contains corn.....I am allergic to it and hte truck is Paleo.
But Freezing coconut milk with sweetener into pops would be great, I could mix in Enjoy Life chips like your said for coconut chip pops.
Now that I think about it a mix like  luvice, a bulk food service bag for say 2 gallons made will cost me $35- 4oz pops $2 each $128 so a $93 profit minus the cost for the sticks and labor to blend and pour http://luvicecream.com/nc-flavors/

Sounds good.  I forgot to say I used chocolate flavored coconut milk also.  Kroger has their own line of it now.

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I m glad you are making you dream come true. Wonderful news.

The non celiac working in your food truck if a professional you hired, screened , and trained, I would be comfortable with if he\she did not bring food to work as Karen mentioned (ate meal from food your truck on shift). Your new food truck your knowledge,  best practices in good prep, and celiac status\knowledge is valuable.

I like many of the food menu options you mentioned. The garlic coconut secret veggies stir fry sounds yummy. I would imagine at a town festival I would try the fries with your homemade vegan chilli or some homemade vegan  cheese. It would allow me to stay longer at the festival. Anything that is a treat for me that I often don't have time to make myself regularly is nice. Cheese is one i don't often make myself due to time.so something safe cheese. Breakfast on the go( if I woke up late) English muffin with bacon treat☺

My kids and I watched a show recently where the business has a bacon "flight". Los angeles? A variety of changing \rotating bacon flavor\slices looked good. Maybe a best of Ennis flight from a signature item\something your catering business was known for would be fun. A staple flight but varies based on your fresh local ingredients . Also I would find the true paleo marketing refreshing as some paleo inspired business derive sugar ingredients  from corn then remove proteins etc but not true paleo. Or safe for me. This is now something I call on with a new paleo product as I discovered this variation in marketing labeling terms.

Overall I would hope your customers enjoy your food for what it is and your talent. May you get folks from all  walks of life celiac, paleo, and normal folks. Prosper

best wishes on your dream

Edited by Awol cast iron stomach

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Few menu thoughts, Need Feedback
Bunless burgers, Whole patty in a Huge dark green better burger lettuce leaf with either smoked gouda or pepper jack dairy free cheese spread, and options of tomato, caramelized/raw onions, turkey bacon, condiments, fried egg.

Or the same in a deli wrap between 2 chunks of iceberg lettuce

The iceberg method is more finicky to build and messier but cost half as much. I just hate the nutrient balance you lose.
Though pictures the messy burger looks oddly more appetizing and the dark green seems to put off the average blue collar guy in the wrap....so far I am getting torn results.

We were reviewing the stir fry options and picture appearance, we are dropping the konjac rice option and sticking with about 2oz of konjac noodles per bowl. The rice looks like little beads and is off putting to people....one guy even stated they looked like little eggs.

Humans are oddly finicky with looks and finding the balance is more difficult....though I did get some interesting feed backs and suggestions.
Taco bowls with taco meat over shredded lettuce with a side dollop of guacamole and a container of salsa
Ratios of meat gives concerns of pricing unable to use rice as filler.

Hot dogs in romaine lettuce leaves with all the fixings.

What would you like to see on a Paleo food truck? Think no grains, corn, and whole foods...PS laws limit the use of poultry and fish on the truck. Consider cost, looks, ease of fixing and how quickly it can be served GO!


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SO we did menu testing and knocked it down to 3 fore sure lines for lunch/dinner that people liked....several things and thoughts were cut. And a issues with the paleo English muffins and tortillas were cost and consistent sourcing, they might come back later.

Paleo Burgers, built with Turkey Burger Patties, between 2 chunks of iceberg lettuce served with leaf cuisines smoked Gouda cheese spread and options of Turkey Bacon, Sliced Tomato, Caramelized Onion, Fried egg, Pickles, or mashed avocado in it.

Ribbon Fries with seasonings, and add on toppings like turkey bacon lisanatti cheese, or sausage.

Beef or Veggie stir fry (we dropped the konjac rice for noodles only on reviews and feed back), with Konjac noodles, broccoli, bell peppers, and coconut secret teriyaki sauce.

Breakfast bowls built to order, Eggs Scrambled or fried, Turkey Sausage, Chorizo, Diced Hash browns, Green Chilis, avocado,

Now that truck menu is done, we are looking at financing....been a pain since I have been on disability with the small inconstant bakery sales and chef jobs.

If ANYONE knows of a philanthropist who will help a celiac with autism start a business they can work in safely give me a heads up. Hell at this point I would accept money from a mobster with a life insurance policy as collateral on top of the truck and business.

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    Quinoa cereals by Altiplano Gold are packaged in individual serving packets, making them especially easy to incorporate into our baking.  They come in three flavors––Organic Oaxacan Chocolate, Spiced Apple Raisin, and Chai Almond––and just need boiled water to make a hot cereal.  Quinoa is a powerhouse of nutrients so I like to use the cereals in additional ways as well.
    Using the same concept for the fruit crisp above, I just sprinkle the Spiced Apple Raisin or Chai Almond dry cereal on the prepared fruit filling.  Since the cereal is already sweetened and flavored, it only needs a little cooking spray.  Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes.  If your fruit needs additional cooking time (such as apples) try the microwave method I discuss above.
    You can add ½ cup of the Chocolate flavor to a batch of chocolate brownies or chocolate cookies for added fiber and nutrients.  Depending on the recipe, you may need to add a little extra liquid to compensate for the cereal which counts as a dry ingredient. 
    Creative Uses of Crackers in Home Cooking
    New crackers by the whimsical name of Mary’s Gone Crackers are chock-full of fiber and nutrients.  They come in Original and Caraway flavors and are a nutritious treat by themselves.  I also take them with me on trips because they travel so well. 
    One creative way to use these crackers and appease your sweet tooth is to dip the whole Original-flavor cracker halfway into melted chocolate.  Ideally, let the chocolate-dipped crackers cool on waxed paper (if you can wait that long) or else just pop them into your mouth as you dip them.  You can also place a few crackers on a microwave-safe plate, top each with a few gluten-free chocolate chips and microwave on low power until the chips soften.  Let them cool slightly so the chocolate doesn’t burn your mouth.  These crackers also work great with dips and spreads. 
    Aside from dipping in chocolate, these crackers have additional uses in baking.  For example, finely crush the Original or Caraway flavor crackers in your food processor and use them as the base for a crumb crust for a quiche or savory tart.  The Original flavor would also work great as a replacement for the pretzels typically used for the crust in a margarita pie.  Just follow your crumb crust recipe and substitute the ground crackers for the crackers or pretzels. 
    The crackers have very little sugar, but the Original flavor will work as a crumb crust for a sweet dessert as well.  Again, just follow your favorite recipe which will probably call for melted butter or margarine plus sugar.  Press the mixture into a pie plate and bake at 350°F for 10 minutes to set the crust.  Fill it with a no-bake pudding, custard, or fresh fruit.
    The crushed crackers can also be added to breads and muffins for a fiber and nutrient boost.  Depending on how much you add (I recommend starting with ½ cup) you may need to add more liquid to the recipe.  
    I’ve just given you some quick ideas for ways to get more grains into your diet and streamline your cooking at the same time.  Here is an easy version of the Apple Crisp I discuss in this article.  I bet you can think of some other opportunities to make our gluten-free diet even healthier with wholesome cereals and crackers. 
    Carol Fenster’s Amazing Apple Crisp
    You may use pears or peaches in place of the apples in this easy home-style dessert. If you prefer more topping, you can double the topping ingredients. This dish is only moderately sweet; you may use additional amounts of sweetener if you wish. Cereals by Enjoy Life Foods and Altiplano Gold work especially well in this recipe. The nutrient content of this dish will vary depending on the type of fruit and cereals used.
    Filling ingredients:
    3 cups sliced apples (Gala, Granny Smith, or your choice) 2 Tablespoons juice (apple, orange)   2 Tablespoons maple syrup  (or more to taste) ½ teaspoon cornstarch  1 teaspoon vanilla extract ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon salt Topping ingredients:
    ¼ cup ready-made cereal ¼ cup gluten-free flour blend of choice ¼ cup finely chopped nuts 2 Tablespoons maple syrup  (or more to taste) 2 Tablespoons soft butter or margarine 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon salt Directions:
    1.  Preheat oven to 375F.  Toss all filling ingredients in 8 x 8-inch greased pan. 
    2. In small bowl, combine topping ingredients. Sprinkle over apple mixture. Cover with foil; bake 25 minutes. Uncover; bake another 15 minutes or until topping is crisp. Top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.  Serves 6.