In the United States, the phenomenon of "food truck" is gaining momentum with the era of social networks
Their fans are keeping track of them on the social networks. In the United States, trucks and restaurants take a spectacular turn far from hot dog carts, street food offers refined menus and even contributes to the Oscars of mobile cuisine.
The sweltering heat is overwhelming and the sky is threatening, but nothing can discourage food lovers. In the last weekend of September, one thousand New Yorkers crowded ferries to Governors Island, a former military base (and one of the best kept secrets of the city) to attend the 2011 Vendy Awards, a ceremony which rewards the best food trucks, these trucks that contribute to New York identity.
Far from hot dogs vendors with poor hygiene, these rather “bustaurants” serves lamb tagines, lobster or pistachio crème brûlée. Latino, Asian, organic ... New York is eclectic and claims it. The matter could not be more serious: Vendy Awards are to food trucks what the Oscars are to movies.
David Weber, president of the New York City Food Truck Association, and mostly Rickshaw Dumpling Truck founder - whose steam dumplings were created in partnership with Anita Lo, one of the most respected chefs in the United States – thinks a shift was made very clearly after the 2008 crisis. "It is the combination of several factors, he says. People had a growing desire for quality food, but less money to spend. The price per square foot in Manhattan was so crazy that it has slowed down the most overflowing ardor.
Finally, the advent of social networks has allowed the phenomenon to grow. Americans then discovered a new passion. Even the TV show "The Great Food Truck Race" on ABC has become a success.
Maine lobster and olive oil ganache
The very serious Zagat website, publishes every day the location of these trucks, or the website Tweat.it have several hundred visitors per day. New Yorkers who "want a half-hour lunch, go to the gym and be the first to be back at the office” quips David Weber, now have flavor requirements coupled with an insatiable curiosity. For the Chefs, the main challenge to engage in the street business was ... to put their pride in their pocket. As Jerome Chang, former pastry sous chef at Cirque, a fancy restaurant in Manhattan, who in 2007 took the plunge. "It was risky, yes, but more in tune with my generation, he says. And if you want to educate young people about food, you should not intimidate them with fancy restaurants." The Dessert Truck, always parked in the evening, serves chocolate cake with olive oil ganache, or cheesecakes with goat cheese and rosemary caramel to delighted NYU students.
Driven by the phenomenon, some triple-starred chef have also hit the road. For one day, and followed by NBC cameras, Daniel Boulud and Alain Ducasse, and one week for Joël Robuchon aboard Air France Gourmet Food Truck. They evangelized Manhattan with grilled beef and truffle wine sauce. The congregation worshiped and even tracked the truck to each new location. "Restaurants have customers, and food trucks have followers" said David Weber.
For those whose it’s not their job, it offers the opportunity to start a second career. Susan Povich, for example, from the Red Hook Lobster Truck, which serves a delicious Maine lobster, was a lawyer in a previous life. Oleg Voss of Schnitzel & Things, was an investment banker. And in another category, Joe Glaser, La Bella Torte, was a plumber: a fellow as massive as his desserts are fine and delicate.
For an investment actually quite small, "about $100 000 for an equipped truck. A restaurant demands between $850,000 and $1.5 million in capital since you have to include rent, renovation, equipment and staff, "says Clark Wolf, a consultant. "A tough business, says Jerome Chang, especially when offering haute cuisine", but profitable. In Midtown, for example, at times when the ballet of elevators never stops a trucks can serves between 200 and 300 lunches per day for prices ranging between $6 and $15. And these bosses on wheels can claim a annual turnover between $400,000 and $1 million for the best of them. It is true that with Twitter and Facebook at hand reach, the craze in particular among young New Yorkers can not be denied. Month after month, new food trucks opens surfing on new food, neighborhoods or budget trends, . And even some restaurants do the opposite and hit the road. At Governors Island, Gayle King, editor of O, The Oprah Magazine, Gavin Kaysen, chef at Cafe Boulud and Peter Hoffman, the owner of Back Forty, delivered their verdict. Rafael and Reina can not contain their excitement. Eleven years of work rewarded. Thanks to their "pupusas" a specialty from Salvador, they will bring home the cup tonight in their Brooklyn apartment.