What goes up: 'food truck ferris wheel' vying for Edmonton Project win

Matt Schuurman thinks a food truck ferris wheel would be a perfectly appetizing attraction for Edmonton’s river valley.

Matt Schuurman and Megan Dart say Edmontonians are hungry for a new dining experience

A 'food truck ferris wheel' is among 10 proposed landmarks vying for approval in the Edmonton Project competition.

It literally puts a new spin on the idea of a drive-thru restaurant.

Matt Schuurman thinks a "food truck ferris wheel" would be a perfectly appetizing attraction for Edmonton's river valley.

Schuurman and his wife Megan Dart have pitched the idea to the Edmonton Project, a competition hosted by a consortium of local businesses which aims to construct a new landmark in the city.

Schuurman, artistic director of Rapid Fire Theatre, envisions a ferris wheel that would serve as a moving restaurant, with a slow-moving wheel rotating around a food truck parked at the base of the ride.

As passengers ride the wheel, passing the window of the food truck, they would be served their drink, appetizer, main course or dessert.

Schuurman said the "kind of crazy" idea was inspired by a similar ride he and Dart enjoyed during the World Expo in Milan in 2016, which was entirely food-themed.

"The idea was that it would go around —  and built off the bottom of it was this restaurant — and each time you passed the bottom, you passed the kitchen window.

"You pop on, get your drink, go around and get your appetizer ... and you keep going around and around until your meal is done."

Schuurman said the dining experience would capitalize on Edmonton's scenic river-valley views and on its growing food scene. 

Not only would the customers rotate, but so would the menu, as a different food truck could pull up at any time.

"Instead of having a permanent fixed kitchen at the bottom, you allow a food truck to come in and switch out the cuisine," said Schuurman.

"It really embraces that part of Edmonton."

The food truck ferris wheel is among 10 Edmonton Project  pitches vying for approval. While members of the public are encouraged to vote for their favourite, the winning idea will be selected by a panel of judges in a public showdown March 6.

Schuurman admitted he has no idea what the ferris wheel would cost to construct, but he said consultations with designers have begun.

He would like to see it constructed somewhere up on a vista overlooking the river valley.

"Since it is an observatory wheel, you want the visual experience to be part of the dining experience," said Schuurman. 

"This has never been done before so we have to see what's feasible."  

Schuurman said there is plenty of appetite for the unusual dining experience.

"When the top 10 were first announced I started getting random messages from complete strangers saying, 'Hey, I own a food truck and I want to be a partner on this.'

"People are certainly interested."

CBC Radio's Edmonton AM will be talking to each of the finalists and profiling the final project pitches over the next two weeks. Submit your vote in the Edmonton Project online.

  • Listen to Edmonton AM with host Mark Connolly, weekday mornings at CBC Radio One, 93.9 FM in Edmonton. Follow the morning crew on Twitter @EdmAMCBC.