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Wandering Sheppard
Congratulations to Art Sheppard!  He and his blog are the winners of the 2014 Mobile Cuisine’s Local Food Truck Blog of the Year – Wandering Sheppard!

The more you learn about Art Sheppard, the more you’re likely to read his WanderingSheppard.com.  His enthusiastic palette and sense of adventure fuel his discoveries and keep you wanting and reading for more.

Sheppard is an accountant by day that was searching for a creative outlet.  He wasn’t necessarily a writer; only that he loved to travel.  He wrote about what he loved and his experiences.

When he started the blog, he originally hoped to travel the world on someone else’s dime allowing him to write about his global adventures.  Luckily, he found a new passion to fulfill sense of adventure – food trucks.

Food trucks were relatively new to the Triangle Area of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  Knowing Sheppard’s love of food, his friends prompted him to check out the local food trucks.  His first experience – a beautiful summer night at the Doughman Banquet on Rigsbee Street – seemed to change him.

Wandering SheppardAs he walked the street “I remember being attracted to this blue trailer with graffiti art all over it… Like a blue light for a mosquito,” Sheppard recalls.  It was KoKyu; known for their TaKos and duck fat tots.

With the first bite, came amazement.  “No fancy tablecloths, fine china or anything to signify a ‘high quality’ experience other that the flavor pushing my boundaries on my enjoyment of a tofu taco.”  He was instantly a food truck fan.  How could he not be?

Wandering Sheppard began in April 2012 with its first food truck post in June.  The blog was still focused on travel, but he found himself becoming more involved in the food truck community and seeking out food trucks on his travels.  “Then one day the ratio of posts flipped to travel/food trucks to food trucks/travel.”

He continued writing about food trucks because he saw an impact.  The food trucks were responsive and appreciative.  Sheppard was motivated by the stories of these small business owners that took pride in serving their passion.  He wanted to share it as much as possible.

Wandering Sheppard

In the last six months, he’s noticed many new food trucks with a more diverse cuisine enter the market: Halal, Czech, Belgian, Israeli and Colombian.  He sees the food truck business model being used as a means of testing new cuisine before opening a brick’n mortar location.

That’s still good news for Sheppard.  He’s added a section to the site that covers those once only rolling restaurants to now cover their brick’n mortar ventures in Wheels And Mortar.

When Sheppard isn’t crunching numbers by day, you may find him on his bike, in his kitchen or traveling to a new place.  He’s never far from food trucks.  He seeks them out wherever he lands, always excited to meet the owners and try their food.

Mobile Cuisine met him in San Antonio at the ROAM Conference over dinner at a local food truck park.  What a better place to meet with other food truck industry professionals!  Sheppard thought the conference brought “great value” and was another excursion and excuse to meet new truck owners and try their food.

You’ll want to keep an eye on Art and his blog, Wandering Sheppard.  His activity in the local food truck community is where he’ll concentrate his efforts, becoming the “go to” spot for both fans and owners.

We can’t wait to see how the Wandering Sheppard grows.  Mobile Cuisine congratulates Art and his award winning blog!  We are always happy to talk about other food truck enthusiasts.  Art always asks, “R U Wandering?”  Well, we hope he never stops!

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cake fun facts

The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history basket weaving. Because of this, as we research for our daily content on food trucks, food carts and street food, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know.

We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in our section titled “Did You Know?”

For today’s Did You Know we will look at Cake fun facts.

The Facts: Modern cake, especially layer cakes, normally contain a combination of flour, sugar, eggs, and butter or oil, with some varieties also requiring liquid (typically milk or water) and leavening agents (such as yeast or baking powder). Flavorful ingredients like fruit purées,nuts, dried or candied fruit, or extracts are often added, and numerous substitutions for the primary ingredients are possible. Cakes are often filled with fruit preserves or dessert sauces (like pastry cream), iced with buttercream or other icings, and decorated with marzipan, piped borders or candied fruit.

  • In Roman times, eggs and butter were often added to basic bread to give a consistency that we would recognize as cake-like, and honey was used as a sweetener. The distinction between Roman concepts of cake and bread was therefore very blurred.
  • November 26th is National Cake Day.
  • The proverb ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it’ first appeared in the early 16th century, however, the proverb ‘a piece of cake’ was not coined until the 20th century and is possibly related to the cakewalk competition.
  • The word ‘cake’ comes from Middle English kake, and is probably a borrowing from Old Norse.
  • The meaning of ‘cake’ has changed over time, and the first cake was: A comparatively small flattened sort of bread, round, oval, or otherwise regularly shaped, and usually baked hard on both sides by being turned during the process.
  • In Scotland, and parts of Wales and northern England, cake took on the specific meaning of ‘a thick, hard biscuit made from oatmeal’.
  • The world’s largest wedding cake weighed 15,032 lb and was made by chefs at the Mohegan Sun Hotel and Casino, Uncasville, CT in February 2004.
  • Birthdays used to be celebrated quite differently, as the first birthday cake was originally a cake given as an offering on a person’s birthday. The first reference to ‘birthday cake’ came in 1785.
  • During the 17th century, in England, people believed that keeping fruitcakes under the pillow of those who are unmarried will give them sweet dreams about their fiancee.

Cake Fun Facts We Missed

Please feel free to let us know if we may have missed some cake fun facts in the comment section below. We always love to add to these lists. If we can verify that the facts is just that, a fact, we will give the reader credit in the article.

Reference: Wikipedia: Fun Facts about Cake.

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fda logo

People who want to eat whatever they want without getting a guilt trip from nutrition labels may soon have to hide out in front of food trucks.

Food trucks increasingly offer gourmet choices for lunch, and are rolling up to office buildings in major cities all over the country. And in a new rule published by the Food and Drug Administration, food trucks will have the added feature of not having to tell you how many calories you’re eating.

The FDA this week released two new rules that will require restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards. It will also require vending machines to post this information somewhere nearby, so people can see nutrition information on the items they buy before putting in their money and pressing buttons.

The changes are required by Obamacare, the broad health care law that took effect in 2010. According to the FDA, the rules are aimed at giving people more ways to monitor the kind of food they eat, and how much, so they can stay healthy.

“Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home and people today expect clear information about the products they consume,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. “Making calorie information available on chain restaurant menus and vending machines is an important step for public health that will help consumers make informed choices for themselves and their families.”

The rules will apply to restaurants and other places that serve food if they are part of a chain of 20 or more locations. It will hit sit-down restaurants, fast food and takeout places, delis and grocery stores, bakery and coffee shops, and even movie theaters and amusement parks that sell food.

Companies with more than 20 vending machines will also have to post calorie content signs nearby.

But food trucks are exempt. “Food trucks are not covered by the menu labeling requirements,” the FDA said in a information sheet about the rules.

FDA said covered businesses will have one year to comply with the labeling requirements. For vending machine operators, the rule will be enforced by contacting these operators directly in cases of non-compliance.

“Failure to comply with the rule will render covered vending machine food misbranded under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act,” the FDA warned.

Find the original article at theblaze.com <here>

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santa cruz downtown

SANTA CRUZ, CA - The city council postponed a decision on proposed changes to the mobile vending ordinance designed to accommodate a growing interest in food trucks. Council members said there were too many questions about the impact to existing businesses, access to parks and private property. The council could take up the issue again Dec. 9.

Mayor Lynn Robinson joined Council members Hilary Bryant and Pamela Comstock in studying expanded times and locations where trucks could operate. They recommended a six-month pilot program allowing trucks in some parks — they can’t be within 300 feet of parks now — and downtown on Cooper Street during First Friday events. Also, up to three trucks could set up on private property without a use permit.

Comstock said trucks could “further engage the community in utilizing our parks” and that San Lorenzo Park would be a good test spot. The site commonly experiences illegal camping and other code violations.

Fran Grayson, who operates the Truck Stop at Lighthouse State Park through a lease with the state, urged more study, saying it isn’t clear there is a burgeoning market for trucks and the changes may represent a solution in search of a problem.

“We could be shooting ourselves shooting ourselves in the foot if we don’t get it right for six months,” she said.

Find the entire article at santacruzsentinel.com <here>

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Unsuccessful Food Truck Owners

Over the years we’ve provided some fun articles which point out key traits we’ve witnessed in some of the most successful food truck owners in the country. Today we are going to reverse things a little and go over the the common traits of unsuccessful food truck owners we’ve seen in the mobile food industry in the 4 years of Mobile Cuisine.

15 Traits Of Unsuccessful Food Truck Owners
  1. Vendors who say that they never have enough time for themselves or family, but who refuse to hire anyone because they do not have the ability to trust anyone else.
  2. Vendors who desperately need a marketing plan, business plan, operation plan, strategic plan, etc.,  but never seem to get around to getting it.
  3. Vendors who have high turnover and blame it on the market or the economy.
  4. Vendors who are totally reactive to circumstances.
  5. Vendors who treat all staff the same.
  6. Vendors who cannot think beyond their own experiences, and who refuse to understand that their success will be limited to their level of understanding that food trucks are a unique business model and may not be related to their understanding or experience in other industries.
  7. Vendors who do not understand that if you are not able to differentiate yourself in your market, you will fail.
  8. Vendors who do not study industry trends.
  9. Vendors who cheat, lie, steal and abuse any or all of their relationships with vendors, staff, and customers.
  10. Vendors who, find they have a great sales increase, but don’t know where it came from.
  11. Vendors who refuse to ask for help, even when they run into major problems.
  12. Vendors who take their staffs, customers, vendors or team for granted.
  13. Vendors who do not embrace change.
  14. Vendors who never seem to be ready for change.
  15. Vendors who do not understand the importance of branding their food truck business.

Please note, if you feel you have some of these traits…it’s almost never too late to change.

I’m sure there are more, but these 15 traits of unsuccessful food truck owners seem to be the biggies. Do you have any additional traits that we should add? If so, please let us know in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.