What the Truck kicks Edmonton food-truck season into gear
'They're not the food trucks that people know from the 80s or 90s — there's some pretty talented chefs here'
Despite chilly weekend weather, Edmonton's food trucks are heating up.
Dozens of mobile chefs participated in the annual What the Truck event Sunday, serving up their specialties for a hungry crowd at the Northlands Expo Centre.
Mack Male, one of the organizers, says Edmonton's food truck industry is sizzling. There are more than 100 registered vendors in the city.
"I love that these guys are out here trying to grow their businesses," Male said Sunday. "They're not the food trucks that people know from the 80s or 90s — there's some pretty talented chefs here."
Nevin Fenske is a seasoned chef on wheels. He launched Drift Food Truck six years ago after struggling to find a brick-and-mortar venue.
"We love it," he said. "You can keep it as high-end or as casual as you want."
At the time, Fenske said he owned one of five registered trucks in Edmonton. Now, he competes with a truckload of new mobile chefs.
"It pushes all of us to cook better food and that's better for the customers," Fenske said. "That keeps us all on our toes."
Parked next door to the Drift Food Truck was one of those competitors. Janette Norwood and her partner, a trained chef from New Mexico, run a food truck called casa12doce.
Five years ago, the two couldn't afford to open a restaurant. Instead, they bought a truck, worked as a mobile restuarant during the summer months and worked part-time jobs in the off-season.
"The time that you put into it was a little more than we ever anticipated," Norwood said about running the truck.
That time paid off. In January, the couple finally opened the restaurant they had dreamed about for so many years.
The restaurant, also called casa12doce, is in Sherwood Park. But Norwood said she isn't ready to park their first business.
"I love being mobile," she said. "I love being able to meet different people all the time."
Sunday's event usually kicks off Edmonton's food-truck season, she added.
"We love the first What the Truck of the season," Norwood said. "It's always really fun."