Mira Loma, CA – Keith Kahn, president of an industrial food service provider, is hungry for change. So he has created a new niche in the Inland area. But he knows it’s a gamble, fraught with irony.

Keith Kahn


More than a year ago, his company, Complete Food Service Inc., launched an IE Gourmet Food Trucks division.

Ironic, because at the time, Riverside and San Bernardino counties were the only two counties in the state banning trucks from selling hot, freshly prepared food except for special occasions.

For decades, his company has been supplying refrigerated vending machine snacks — drinks, chips, sandwiches, ice cream, salads, pastries, burritos — to distribution centers within 40 minutes of its Jurupa Valley headquarters. Nothing is cooked onboard the vehicles. Packaged and labeled, the food is dispatched on designated routes to customers.

But now Kahn, 55, who lives in Redlands, is pinning hopes on his home county to eventually waive all restrictions. San Bernardino County relented a bit in July, allowing hot-food trucks to operate in unincorporated — typically under-populated — areas under permit at sanctioned events.

Kahn is optimistic that the county’s cities will follow suit and adopt their own ordinances along the same lines or allow trucks even more freedom in cruising the streets.

“We’re waiting, biding our time,” Kahn said. And meanwhile, “I’ve become a foodie.”

After researching, contacting and sampling fare from many of the 300 hot-food trucks based in Los Angeles and Orange counties (three in Riverside and San Bernardino counties), Kahn re-invented himself as a gourmet chow expert. “It’s fun, exciting,” he said, “a breath of fresh air.”

Kahn is eager to roll with and roll out some of these trendy novelties. He’s hooked on “food with a twist,” such as beer-battered avocado tacos, chicken pesto crepes and waffles smeared with Nutella.

To promote and market them, the food king happily has assumed the role of event coordinator. He charges a booking fee for the gourmet food vendors he lines up for fundraisers, festivals and other permitted special occasions in the Inland Empire.

It’s not just the smorgasbord of Greek, Vietnamese, Korean and Southern comfort delectables, but the sense of community generated around these coaches, he said.

Find the entire article Laurie Lucas at pe.com <here>