Saturday, August 31, 2013
|Truck Design by Brands Imaging|
In May (2013) I started a food truck series with Farm Truck and went to New York to feature The Ditch Witch. Then I got rather busy interviewing Lee Daniels, Cuba Gooding, Jr and Yaya Alafia for the movie The Butler, and other great film/movie posts happened, and so, it's taken me this long to get back to my Food Truck series.
|Debbie Dasani - Owner/Operator/Chef of Samosa Deb|
|Chicken Tika Masala|
This is not a fast food version of Indian food. This is the real thing! Debbie's heritage goes back to a generation that migrated from India to settle in Guyana in South America.She married a man born in India; she explained to me her husband is accustomed to Indian dishes with a sweeter flavor. Debbie is used to a spicier, savory way of cooking. She enjoys creating recipes that blend these two Indian traditions. Either way, there's no short cut to making good Indian food. Each dish requires a myriad of spices, not always easily obtainable, and a considerable amount of prep time. Debbie has figured out how to offer dishes that take a long time to make, but are ready to serve in minutes - not easy, but for Debbie it's a labor of love. In 2008 she realized this was her passion and creative outlet and therefore should be her business:
|Mixture of Saag Paneer & Channa Chaat|
T&T: How long have you been in the food industry? When and Why did you decide to start a food truck?
SD: Going on five years. But my food truck is only 2 months old! Both my husband and I got tired of working 9-5 jobs, so we bought a convenience store in South Philly in 2008. I started with samosas and some sweet breads. The convenience store customers enjoyed them and asked for more dishes. However, the biggest challenge was no kitchen on the premises. I tried offering the food cold to go, and it was well received, but our customers kept nagging me to consider serving it hot or to open a restaurant. So I did a bit of test driving and offered hot food at the annual Italian Market festival and it was a big hit!
|Debbie is trying to keep her menu prices low for a student's budget|
I knew I did not want to be stuck in a kitchen 15 hours a day, with no customer contact or interaction, so I started paying attention to food trucks and did a few Night Markets and was convinced a food truck was the way to go. I love the concept of a mobile kitchen. It allows me to be creative and have constant customer interaction. It really gets my creative juices flowing. I don't want to be making the same dishes day in and out. My menu is very customer driven, I like to do fusion blends of different cooking styles. Best of all, the food truck allows me to move around in different neighborhoods. I learn so much from my customers, they are the ones making up the menus. It is hard work, but I am having so much fun it does not seem too hard. One has to have a passion for food to do a food truck. Like any job if you don't work, you don't get paid. What is so rewarding for me is I have fun cooking and now I get paid to do it.
|Samosa: Whole Wheat pockets filled with potatoes, peas & corn (drizzle of Tamarind Sauce)|
T&T: Best elevator pitch - What sets your food truck cuisine apart from others? And what's unique about your truck itself?
SD: I am the only Indian food truck in the city of Philadelphia.
|Pakora Chaat: crunchy battered vegetables|
You can also get Samosa Deb's cuisine through Legit Delivery - a delivery service currently concentrating on connecting food trucks on Temple University’s campus with the students. Founded by current students, Legitdelivery.com specialize in swift bicycle delivery on a daily basis as well as large catering orders upon special request. Their website is currenlty being updated to allow online orders - facebook.com/LegitDelivery / twitter @legitdelivery
T&T: What do you wish the City would change about Food Truck Vending in Philadelphia?
SD: It's great that Temple's campus is not restricted like University City. I'm hoping that doesn't change. I also suggest a few food trucks get together and rent a parking lot once a month.
|Vermicelli rice pudding: creamy comfort food, mildly sweet.|
T&T: Who's the most famous person to come up to your truck? And/or at what events do you do the most business?
SD: No famous person has come by yet. The Italian Market and Night Market have been great!
|This is something you have to try! Sweet Samosa filled with cheesecake brownie and blueberries|
T&T: We always add a little Tinsel into our Tine, so what's your favorite movie genre and favorite movie from that genre?
SD: The Godfather is my favorite movie.
****When you visit Samosa Deb and mention you read this post on Tinsel & Tine you will receive $2 off a Mango Lassi or a Thai Ice Tea - offer expires 10/31/13****
Other Food Trucks featured on T & T
Surf and Turf - Lobster Rolls
Farm Truck Philly - Organic Meals
The Ditch Witch - American Surf StylePrime Stache - Pulled Pork, Burgers Dia Doce - Gourmet Cupcakes
Vendy Awards - The equivalent of the Oscars for Food Trucks
If you are or know of a Philly Food Truck that should be featured on Tinsel & Tine please drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tinsel & Tine (Reel & Dine): Philly Film, Food & Events Blog