Meals on wheels just got a lot more upmarket but will it take off in edinburgh?
Could food trucks be the next big thing on Scotland’s food scene? In Edinburgh, JP Campbell would like to think so.
The lawyer turned soup entrepreneur runs the Elephant Juice gourmet soup truck from Dumbo 1, a funky old converted Citroën. Currently working from a year-round fixed pitch on George Square, he plans to take his kerbside cuisine on the road, and inform potential customers of his location and the day’s menu via social media.
Stoats’ porridge van and La Favorita’s mobile wood-fired pizza kitchen are already a familiar sight at farmers’ markets and on the festival circuit. Campbell hopes that Elephant Juice could be the start of a Scottish food truck scene like that in Los Angeles or London, where new-school food trucks have gone from having cult status to being an established part of the everyday urban culinary landscape. At London’s King’s Cross, there is even a thrice weekly food truck market called eat.st.
“I don’t know why more people here haven’t thought of doing it,” he says. “For me, it was a very affordable way to start a food business compared to taking on a lease on fixed premises.”
If the old image of a mobile food business is that of the greasy burger van then businesses such as Elephant Juice are more about healthy, inventive food. Soups such as broc and smoked cheese, funky beets and haggis ‘n’ sweet potato are regulars on the roster at Dumbo 1, rather than reheated pies.
Campbell points out that the product from the new school of food trucks is in a different league from the botulism burger vans of old.
“One of the benefits of street food is that you can really spend money on your ingredients because you don’t have some of the other costs that leased units have.”
As well as customers getting more bang for their buck, the quirky character of food trucks such as Campbell’s Citroën make an interesting change from bland, high street franchises.
“People stop and engage with the business because of the van,” confirms Campbell. “They pop up and have a conversation about the van and then think about the soup.”
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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