This week’s 5 on Friday we spoke with the owner of the St. Louis, MO based food truck, StLouisianaQ. We wanted to learn more about them, their food and why they’ve decided to join the initiative Fighting Hunger In America – and share it with our readers.
Name: Thomas “Chef Papa T” White
Age (range is fine): 60
Food Truck Name: StLouisianaQ
Location: St. Louis, MO
Year started in the mobile food industry: 2012
Mobile Cuisine: Why did you become a food truck owner/chef?
Chef Papa T: I have had many years of Chef experience; started out as a US Navy cook doing 3 tours in Viet Nam, went to Chef school in Europe, opened and head cheffed at a St Louis restaurant, opened and was executive chef in Panama, FL… then got out of the business for a while. But, I always loved good food and loved cooking for people – plus the wonders of mobile food and bringing it to new people each day drew me in.
MC: What was the inspiration for your menu and how did you settle on your food offerings?
CPT: I was born and raised in Louisiana, and have lived in St. Louis most of my adult life, so I offer a blend of Louisiana and St. Louis cuisine. I do not do Cajun or Creole on the truck… I bring good Louisiana southern style cooking.
MC: Do you have a favorite moment since opening your food truck?
CPT: My first big food truck event was an eye opener! Looking out the service window and seeing a sea of hungry people waiting to try our StLouisianaQ was just awesome! That first time you get slammed – and the truck looks like an explosion at the end of food service – is just unbelievable!
MC: What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself and your food truck in 2 and 5 years?
CPT: Right now we are switching over to a new and improved version of StLouisianaQ a truck instead of a trailer. We have been fitting it since the end of 2013, and we should be rolling it out in the summer of 2014. We are anticipating major growth over the next 2 to 5 years as more companies get hip to the idea of bringing lunch to their work place, and events decide to bring a food truck to their venue.
MC: What one tip or piece of advice do you wish you had been given before opening your food truck?
CPT: We really should have done more research to see what the qualifications were for joining the St Louis Food Truck Association. We have been unable to join because we are a trailer – a $60K state of the art stainless steel interrior mobile kitchen, but a trailer nonetheless- and surprise to us, this association does not allow trailers. Because of this, we have been out of the loop for many businesses, events and venues, and locked out of many major food truck rallys in the St Louis area. Because of this oversight, we have had to work twice as hard to make ourselves known and build our business.
BONUS: Why did you choose to join the food truck initiative Fighting Hunger In America? How do you plan to encourage donations?
CPT: We are all about the idea “What goes around comes around” This is how we live our daily lives, and we want to always transfer that sentiment into StLouisianaQ. We plan on putting the initiative onto our Website and food truck – and encourage others to get involved.
FoodTruck & Catering~ LAStyle: QRibBones, QPoundNachos, Wings, RedBeans & Andouille, 1/4LbBeefDogs: DirtySouth, BigRed, ChiQ – PulledPorkQSand PretzBun, MudCake
If you’d like more information about joining the Give Network Food Truck Fights Against Hunger, check out this article. If you join before May 31st, you will be entered in a chance to win a $500 gas card.