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  1. I make a lot for crêpes. I use a different recipe but the key for me is a digital thermometer. I stir constantly until 172 F then pull it.
  2. Thinking about this? Step one: Learn the health dept licensing and code inside and out. Step two. Learn the city/county/state permitting process inside and out. Step three: figure your budget Step four: Refine your concept in light of the above. Step five: business plan, funding...and lots of patience. 4 suggestions: Like going to Vegas, Don't risk anything (time, money, marriage) you can't afford to lose. Craigslist is your friend You will find yourself drowing in opportunities - do your homework, pick and choose events, don't be afraid to say sorry, not this year. A gimmick (name, truck graphics...) will get you a first customer, good food, reasonable price and service will get you a follower. Followers will keep you in business. The rules rules rules are a crazy quilt. In Oregon where I currently operate there are 4 classes of mobile licenses. Class 4 must have a triple sink and can cook raw proteins. I have a class 3 cart and can cook, but not raw proteins. Ham, smoked salmon, a precooked chicken (we cook it in our kitchen and reheat),, hot hold RTE pasties... those are OK and I do not need a triple sink on the cart. Yes I have a licensed kitchen - yet another licen$e. That also allows me to cater. If I cook and egg, need a triple sink. In Washington State the situation is entirely different. In Portland (where I am not) food trucks can be permanent. In Salem, (where I am) food trucks must move every 6 months. In Silverton near Salem you have to have a $200 city license every 90 days. Buying your car/cart/truck/ should be way down the list. Spend a couple of days/nights watching the lines at other trucks -- how much business do they seem to do? Prepare for bad weather -- even at a busy the farmers markets, rain can drop my sales 30-50%. But you can't disappoint your followers.
  3. We have a pushcart, not a truck, so that makes it easier, although some markets permit trucks. The main thing is -- does your food match their philosophy. We get our cheese from a market vendor, our meats from 2 vendors, greens, etc... Some markets do allow food trucks. It depends on the area.
  4. Update -- it turns out after a LOT of frustrating cracker experiments that our sheeter needed repair. When I bought this used sheeter I did not know that the thickness adjuster was also a magnetic brake that kept the rollers from widening when dough passed through. Turns out that the magnetic coil was broken. Even though I had a 90 day warranty on the equipment, it took me longer than that to figure out that there was more than my inexperience at work. Now fixed and crackers are coming along. Still practicing.
  5. Funny, I had completely forgotten about this post. It is about 2 1/2 years since my OP. We ended up buying a used crêpe cart on craigslist. We decided to go the farmers market route because the costs were much less than fairs and events. A Saturday cost $30, while our county fair cost 24% of our gross! We've done a few events but not many. Our first year we did 5 markets a week. Year 2 we did 4 market a week, tightened up our food costs, and made almost as much as year one. Now we have leased our own wholesale kitchen and are launching our second cart to sell sweet and savoury pies. We have two local pubs as wholesale customers, and are working on additional products. Your thoughts and ideas were appreciated. We are happy with our cart, even though it might be nice to be inside a big warm truck, the market brings the customers. I'll be happy to answer any questions anyone might have. FWIW, there is a lot of conversation on this topic at the roadfood site as well.
  6. After a few weeks of fooling around we finally bought a couple of full sheet silpats. We put the sheet between those for the final run, that gets it pretty thin.
  7. So happy to see the Pasties post! We're adding a savoury pie cart to go along with our our crêpe cart for this upcoming farmers market season and hope everything likes them too.
  8. We now have a bakery kitchen and use portable induction burners @ ($140 each) when we need to cook something. No hood needed. Costco had a set of reasonable induction ready pans. Not my Allc lad, but affordable. I like the inductions for a small setup as you can so easily reconfigure your stations. And they hot hold like a wet dream. But we are new, small and self taught, so take that into consideration.
  9. in the northwest checkout foodhub.org Your local farmers market might have a vendor list on their website.
  10. Thanks for responding. When the dough (a leavened hi-gluten dough) gets quite thin (gap setting at 1 or less) as the leading edge of the dough gets to the rollers it does not have enough stiffness and curves down just in front of the metal edge of the scraper. There is a gap of about 3/16th of an inch and the dough drops in. It is not sticking to the belt, the dough is not sticky. This is a Rondo reversible floor sheeter, It has a variable speed dial, a sheeting speed and a cutting speed, and the handle that reverses the belts has two positions, one where the speed of each belt is different, and one where the speeds are ( I think, from what I've read) the same. It is about 10- years old.
  11. Hi, we've got a new (to us) rondo sheeter sso-64 floor model, We're trying to make a lavash style cracker. Having trouble getting the dough to be very very thin (a setting of 1/2 - 3/4 is our target). We used to use a pasta roller on a kitchenaid but the volume was slow. When we get the sheeter setting down below 1 the leading edge follows the edge of the belt as there is a small gap between the metal edge of the scraper and the belt. We've tried laying the front edge on parchment (silpat is too thick) it helps but that takes a lot of time - lifting the safety guard, feeding the paper in the rollers...still not awhat we'd hoped for. Appreciate any tips.
  12. My favorite are Carneros wines -- especially Schug Carneros. I still have some reds Mr. Schug signed for me a number of years back. I like his chard - your typical california over-oaked chard. Of course Ravenswood, Vicki Sebastiani's Viansa is worth going to just for the views, and they have some nice wines. Or did. (Disclaimer: I have not been in Sonoma in 10 years but a quick google shows they are still around). There was a little tasting room which features wines by this guy Kaz -- He had a Lenoir -- Probably the deepest red I ever drank -- 9 acres of some old vines oh yuumm. Best with a slow-roasted beef of some type. Yum! Here he is: http://www.kazwinery.com/ Just found this on Facebook -- makes me want to take a road trip! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sonoma-CA/Wine-Country-This-Week/150121491647 And I am a Gloria Ferrer Carneros Brut fan as well. Have a good time, and as I recall, be careful driving on Sunday afternoons, the amateurs have been drinking and driving all day and are heading sleepily home Salut, Richard
  13. I'm moving on from my current cooking job and thinking of what to do next. I've been running a B&B -(10-25 covers every morning for 6 months a year) and a farm-fresh food stand at our local farmers market for several years. So I'm thinking about the food cart idea, low overhead, good margin, perhaps? Also of trailering one around to festivals, parks, fairs, etc. There are some cities (like Portland, OR) where food carts are getting a lot of play. Any thoughts - experiences to share? ideas> suggestions? I have a couple of ideas for menus that are not done to death just yet that might lend themselves to this approach. I know the business side of things pretty well -- licensing, insurance, business plans, personnel, website stuff, accounting, etc. What I am always afraid of in a new business are the things I don't know. How do you find a location? City codes are one part, but traffic and 'turf' are probably part of it as well. How do you find about about the turf part? How to you get into fairs and festivals? If you go to a strange town, how do you find some local help to help with the booth? I've never had to deal with $ under the table -- does that happen (guess I am pretty naive about some of that stuff). Thanks for any random advice.
  14. Random thoughts. 0) Know your costs. Have good insurance. Charge for everything (or show it as a no charge item on the bill for PR sake). Some business you do not want: Let someone else fail to meet the client from hell's unreasonable expectations. 1) I have found craigslist to be a good source for sourcing about rental kitchens and also used equipment and smallwares. Also for local farms that have product that can help differentiate your work from those that only buy from the bulk suppliers. 2) Your job is to make your client (that is the person that signed the contract) look good to their peers or friends or guests. Your client would probably love to tell their guests or co-workers "These tarts are made with Raspberries from the valley." Or whatever. People LOVE the provenance of food, and the organizer will get good cred if you make them look good. And they'll tell their friends. Of course you already know this. 2) Focus. Doing weddings? Then do the wedding shows. Get to know the wedding planners in your area, the halls typically used for weddings, the florists, the dressmakers. By Get To Know I mean don't just drop off a business card and rack card. Feed them. Feed their staff. Keep in touch. Doing business catering? Office managers are the people you want to know. Get some face time. Ask who they use now. How do they like them? Any suggestion they would give someone trying to break into the business? Then send something good to eat as a follow up in a month. 3) One local caterer does a booth at the farmers market with products highlighting local ingredients. Hand out recipe cards with your catering info on the back. 4) Get on Google Local - even if you don't have a street address you can get a local listing. Have a website with useful information such as suggested menus, and quantity estimates (many people hiring a caterer are not very knowledgeable, so help them be a success). 5) Your local community college may have a culinary school. A great source of part time help. 6) Take pictures. Put them on your website. Put them on your Facebook page. 7) Sleep now. You wont have time when your business takes off. Good luck.
  15. rlped

    Sysco Food

    We've been running a small farm-to-fork B&B on an island in Washington State and sourcing of some items is hard. The Chefex section of Sysco has allowed me to get things like Med. couscous, some specialty cheese and some rarer spices, although ordering online from Frontier has turned out to be a better deal, also bulkfoods.com We get a nice semolina for pasta, and their orange juice, in blind tasting to Tropicana with our staff came out better. We only buy about $200-300/week from them, but to be able to order at 3:00 pm and have a quarter round of real parm reggiano show up the next morning is pretty nice. Some of their cheese suppliers are pretty good. Their warehousing helps me reduce my inventory costs. I can get Tillamook aged white cheddar from Sysco when I can't even get it from Tillamook! The food shows they put on helped me look at vendors I did not know, like ground tomatoes from Escalon. I was able to taste about 6 different canned tomato vendors and really liked that one. Veggies can be pretty spotty, I usually need to really read the material our rep sends out from their fresh sheet guys. They also source a local bacon that is very very good, but I had to find out from the butcher that they had it available. Their new online ordering system is a bit better than their old system in terms of finding more interesting products.
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