If you have ever been to a food truck rodeo around the Triangle area, you get an idea from the crowds how popular food trucks are. The trucks here and around the country have raised the bar of the quality of food that can be expected from a moving box on four wheels. So when over 40 trucks gather in one place, the masses swarm and they gravitate toward their favorite trucks. This manifests itself as long lines with people eagerly standing and waiting for their name to be called so they can chow down. Inside of the truck, it means a small team working furiously in a cramped and hot space to send a quality representative of their skills out to hungry customers. I wanted to give people a short glimpse of what it looks like from the view of the chef onboard a truck, so I asked Paul Inserra if he would allow me to strap a GoPro camera to his head during a recent food truck rodeo.
Paul is the Co-Owner, with his wife Alycia and Director of Deliciousness of the wildly popular truck American Meltdown. Paul attended the French Culinary Institute and before opening American Meltdown, he worked at Smith and Wollensky in NYC, Nasher Cafe and Revolution here in Durham to name a few. From Paul’s view you can get an idea of the pace and intensity he works at. To add to the difficulty, all of the melts you see him moving around are not all the same on the inside, there are four different kinds of melts that he has to keep track of. Pigs and Figs (black mission figs, speck, local goat cheese and a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar on sourdough bread) De-lish (melty, cheddar on buttered Guglhupf Bakery’s rustic house bread crisped to perfection) the Kubla Khan (smoked and dry rubbed pork shoulder sourdough bread with an Asian cole slaw, Dijon mustard and provolone) and the Dark Matter (black garlic-squid ink sauce, grilled yellowfin tuna, house pickles and cilantro). This footage is only parts of the first 45 minutes of a four hour service compressed to under 4 minutes, where they served 316 melts and 72 orders of brussel sprouts (which they ran out of 3 hours into service).
Paul explains that it has taken time to get the truck to the well oiled machine it is today. He recounted an early “meltdown” that lead to chaos inside the truck,unforgivalby long lines, quick sellouts and angry customers. The pressure of food truck rodeos has trained Paul and his team to a point that they were able to operate at rate of 102 melts per hour during a rodeo last year. Enjoy the behind the scene view of what its like from Paul’s view on the American Meltdown. I like to highlight local music artists when I can, the song used in this video is called DL’s Holler by the talented Phil Cook. You find and download the song here.