Too Many Cooks — That Food Truck Takes Center Stage

25 Oct

Based on the proliferation of food blogs (like this one) out there, it’d be a safe assumption that there are A LOT of people in the world that really enjoy food.  And not just consuming it.  They enjoy talking about it, looking at it, and hearing from others who share a similar passion for the things that we eat.

Every month on the second Sunday of the month at Wild Goose Creative, an open, eclectic, and ever changing group of people gather to be informed and entertained by someone with a special food story to tell or lesson to teach.  Called “Too Many Cooks,” this regular event is open to all-comers with an abiding, or even passing, interest in food.  (Try to RSVP, space can be limited!)  It starts at 7 p.m. and costs only $5.  (Not only do you get to eat whatever is on offer for the evening, but Wild Goose Creative is a nonprofit, and any proceeds from the event go towards supporting their vast array of other programs and events.)

Too Many Cooks had been on my radar for a while, but I only attended my first event earlier this month.  Honestly, what finally pushed me into attending is that Tania took over organizing responsibilities. (If that’s not disclosure enough, I may have a conflict of interest when it comes to writing this blog post.  After all, if I said bad things, I could run the risk of physical injury.  But, after viewing the photos of the food for yourself, I’ll let you decide whether there is anything bad to be said.)

Although Tania’s involvement was the primary reason I attended, the identity of the featured guest came in a close second.  That’s because the most recent Too Many Cooks featured one of Columbus’s newest food truck all-stars: That Food Truck.

A relatively new food truck, That Food Truck got their start locally only earlier this summer.  That hasn’t prevented them from garnering massive amounts of attention and praise however.  And as I can say from my own personal experience, all of their accolades are well-deserved.

Dan preparing food in advance of the evening’s Too Many Cooks presentation.

While the That Food Truck may be new to Columbus, the men behind the truck are no strangers to the food business—mobile or otherwise. (Well, at least one of them isn’t. But more on that in a moment.)  Dan is the genius in the kitchen who creates the innovative and palate pleasing culinary delights which are bestowed upon you from the windows of the truck.  Not only is he an experienced and formally trained chef, but he’s also a capable butcher who takes very seriously the importance of using high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients.  Beyond that, he’s an evangelist for using all the parts of an animal, and is on a mission to introduce Columbus to some more…interesting…cuts of meat that many people have never experienced.

If Dan is the brains behind the food, then Steve is the one that keeps the business end rolling and helps to bring Dan’s creations to us ravenous masses. He might not have had any previous experience with food, but his business background helps bring order to chaos—and ensures your order gets to you.  Listening to him talk about the nuts and bolts of running a food truck business really drove home the fact that it’s not all fun and glory.  There’s a lot of back end work to do.  Not to mention dishes to be washed.

The easy partnership between Dan and Steve was on full display that Sunday at Wild Goose as they regaled the audience with tales of how they got their start, their philosophy on food, and how their focus on the little things can make a huge difference when it comes to running a food truck.  For example, having outfitted their truck from the ground up, they were able to customize it exactly as they wished.  With possible winter events in mind, the opted for windows that slide open vertically rather horizontally—enabling them to open them just far enough to let the food out but not much cold air in.  Their attention to detail runs through all aspects of the operation, business AND food.

And what wondrous food it is.

We were treated to three different That Food Truck specialties.  Bacon wrapped dates stuffed with almonds, pork with mole sauce and topped with apples and homemade queso fresco, and their terrific chocolate chip cookies.

I hereby declare that the term “black gold” shall no longer refer to oil. It shall be a reference to That Food Truck’s mole.

I have to warn you about the mole however.  It’s highly addictive.  If I hadn’t been out in public, I probably would have licked my plate clean to ensure not a single drop went to waste.  Dan explained the lengthy process by which he concocts his mole, and the time and attention he pours into it goes a long way to explaining why it’s so amazing.  I didn’t take notes, it’s been a while since the event, and I was honestly focused on scraping every last bit into my mouth…but as I recall he said it takes somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 hours to make a batch.

There are no pictures of the chocolate chip cookies to share—they went too quickly. (Including mine. It went too quickly into my mouth.)  But the cookies also have an impressive back story.  They’re based off of a recipe from Dan’s great, great, great, great , great (ok, I can’t remember how many “great”s, but it was a lot) grandmother.  Not only that, but they add a cup of chocolate chips for every cup of flour. Yum.

Finally, and perhaps as important as anything I’ve already mentioned, both Dan and Steve and committed members of the Columbus community.   They care about the city, and about their fellow food-truckers. (Is that a word? Food-truckers? If it isn’t, it should be.)  A prime example of this is an event that they’re hosting this weekend: Save the Short Bus.

PerZoot, another purveyor of delicious mobile eats, has recently been sidelined with mechanical problems.  So the guys at That Food Truck have taken it upon themselves to organize an event,called “Save the Short Bus,” to help raise money for repairs.  On Saturday, they’re organizing a food pod at their somewhat regular location of Grant and Gay.  There will be a variety of trucks on site from 5-10 p.m. and any and all tips will go to help get PerZoot rolling again.  Not only that, but the Davidson Farm—the providers of That Food Truck’s meaty goodness— will be donating two boxes of pork that will be raffled off to raise additional money.  So if you’re feeling inspired, go check them out on Saturday!

The delicious insides of the Lazy Chicken sandwich.

Addendum: I was so captivated by the mole I had at Too Many Cooks, I was forced to seek out That Food Truck later in the week.  Their “Lazy Chicken” sandwich is adorned with that delicious, delicious mole sauce and I just had to have it again as soon as possible.


2 Responses to “Too Many Cooks — That Food Truck Takes Center Stage”

  1. Nelson Kraus October 26, 2012 at 9:38 am #

    Wonderful to see the response to Dan’s culinary creativity and commitment to quality in his dishes. That’s “My BUD”! I’m proud of you son! :o))


  1. Christmas Treat — Lebkuchen Christmas Cookies « Pie are Round - December 9, 2012

    […] Many Cooks at Wild Goose Creative, I knew that’s what I had to make.  (I also wrote about the Too Many Cooks featuring That Food Truck.) The other reason for choosing this recipe is that this is a pretty easy and straightforward recipe […]

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