WASHINGTON DC – Last week, José Andrés confirmed that his very first food truck — Pepe — aims to launch in DC in late February serving Spanish sandwiches and non-alcoholic sangria. While working from home with his team to finalize menu plans for his Miami restaurant, the Spanish chef spoke with Eater by telephone about Pepe, food truck regulations in DC and his dream for a good samaritan future of food trucks. He also had some words for conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who recently mocked Andrés (and his accent) for statements he’s made regarding childhood obesity.
That’s exciting about the new truck.
Well, don’t be excited.
I just saw Rush Limbaugh trashing me for my comments [about childhood obesity] on TV yesterday. I don’t know if to celebrate being trashed by Limbaugh or to cry. I’m going to find out where he has his studio and I’m going to send him the truck. I mean it. I want to send him the truck. Rush Limbaugh: José wants to feed you.
How long have you been planning the truck?
I see a lot of the issues that the food trucks are experiencing. Those are young people and they’re trying to make a living and are active members of their community. Instead of being at home waiting for an employment check they decided to be entrepreneurs. I think it’s something that should be applauded. We know that trucks sometimes are given a hard time by officials. And sometimes it is because there is not even real legislation in place to handle the truck issue.
But anyway, at the end of the day I have restaurants, I don’t have trucks. So you could argue if I had 50 or 100 trucks in my city it is taking away from my restaurants. But I would argue the contrary. I will say this gives life to a city like Washington, DC. And I like to have those smaller trucks that hopefully compete with the big fast food industry. I would prefer to have more local people that I know try hard to serve something unique, different, affordable, than the super-big corporations.
There are still negotiations happening in Washington about how to deal with the trucks — and I’m very happy it seems the mayor is moving forward with this issue. DC should be a good example to the mayors of every single city to make sure that they are active and creating the right environment. We have these small business owners providing a service to the city. I’d like to be part of this. That’s why we’re doing the truck.
So now I’m thinking about getting 100, but I’m trying to make sure that one works. And it’s going to be very simple. We’re going to do sandwiches, the sandwiches I grew up with. Nothing fancy, nothing big. You will find Iberico meat, you will find Iberico ham, you will find a goat cheese sandwich. We’ll have a good vegetable sandwich with roasted vegetables from Catalonia. We have some potato chips that will be very delicious. We will have a gin and tonic without the gin but with the flavor — I have a green card. I don’t want to lose it.
Find the entire interview from dc eater.com <here>