The mobile food industry has grown leaps and bounds since 2008, and the owners of this ever expanding culinary world come from many backgrounds. To help the readers of Mobile Cuisine learn more about the about the owners of the food trucks around the world we are happy to announce new content we call “5 on Friday”. This new section will provide an inside look into the lives of these mobile entrepreneurs with the answers to five questions we will release each Friday. To start us off we spoke with the owner of the Los Angeles based eatery, The Grilled Cheese Truck.
Name: Dave Danhi
Food truck name: The Grilled Cheese Truck
Location: Los Angeles and beyond!
Year started in the mobile food industry: 2009
Mobile Cuisine: Why did you become a food truck owner, chef?
Dave Danhi: I’ve been professionally cooking since I was 14 years old. I’ve ran some great restaurants in LA (Exec. Chef of Water Grill, Roxbury, Georgia to name a few. Corporate chef of King’s Seafood Company before I ‘retired’ from kitchens.
MC: Who has been the most influential person in your culinary career?
DD: The guests I feed. I learned a long time ago that ANYONE can cook food they love. The key to being a strong chef is the ability to cook food that the people coming in the door (or up to the truck!) like. I keep seasonal and mixing what is at the top of the season and what people what is where I like to gear menu changes and specials. To break it down to a specific person, one of my old bosses, Matt Stein from King’s Seafood Company, pushed me to always ask, “Why” and that has been a key part of my decision making when it comes to food, presentations, flavor and texture combinations.
MC: What do you think sets your truck apart from your competitors?
DD: As our tag line states, “Chef driven grilled cheese, ‘cuz that’s how we roll…”. ALL of our food is made from scratch with high quality ingredients. The same food and quality standards I had at Water Grill, I employ in our kitchen and with our recipes.
MC: What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself and your food truck in 2 and 5 years?
DD: Bigger, better, more accessible as well as I have some great food ideas that I’m going to be playing with very soon.
MC: What one suggestion would you give to someone planning to open a food new truck?
DD: DON’T!. Kidding. The strongest advice is to make sure you realize that the food business is a labor of love and a love of labor. There are a lot of hours and attention to running a food truck. Things go wrong more often than not so you need to be flexible and have the ability to react quickly. Also, the biggest mistake I see people getting into trucks in the last year is going in undercapitalized. There’s a misconception that it’s “cheap” to start a truck but people need to realize that you need to have at least one year’s worth of capital to keep the truck going.