Food Trucking - Q&A with owner James Kielczynski
Last year, the Pick n Pay Fresh Living Magazine asked us to give an interview on our food trucking journey. We have decided to share the unedited interview and allow you a little look inside the heart of Earthfire Pizza – Mr James Kielczynski!
Q: Give us a bit of background, how you came to be part of the food truck scene?
James: “I remember having a specific love for pizza from an early age. When I was about 20, my dad invented his special wood burning, ceramic pizza oven which I soon started demonstrating and selling at markets for pocket money. Eventually my pizza samples started to become semi-legendary and people kept telling me to sell my pizzas. I began fantasising about having a silver stream caravan and converting it into the ultimate pizza kitchen, selling gourmet pizzas and promoting our hugely versatile pizza ovens on the Camps Bay strip. Needless to say it remained a dream and eventually after a meeting with Luca from Limoncello, who encouraged me to go for it, I did a bunch of research and settled on a custom made trailer that fitted into our budget which manifested into our current trailer.”
Q: What do you love most about working from a food truck?
James: “I love being able to rock up at an event or wherever we’re serving, and I have the familiarity of my own work space. It’s also contained and compact and of course the big appeal is that they’re mobile. A food truck/trailer should exude an identity and character and I love people’s reaction to the vibe a food truck gives off. They’re good looking enough to have at your wedding, cool enough for festivals or any other event and they brighten up any street.”
Q: What are the main challenges?
James: “Space can be a bit of an issue when it gets hectic. You can’t just rock up anywhere either. Our regulations are archaic in this country, which we as the food truck community are collectively trying to change. Finding the right staff can be a challenge but once you’ve got your team, everyone just pulls together and a lovely family is created. Getting to know which events to take on is a skill learned through experience and networking. Weather! Also a challenge.”
Q: Is it limiting to work from a food truck? And if so, can this be a good thing?
James: “Space can be a bit limiting. But on the flip side, it’s less space to maintain and clean. We are constantly surprised at how little space you actually need to make copious amounts of pizza!”
Q: Do you ever miss being rooted to one venue?
James: “We don’t have that issue as we are ‘rooted’ at two markets with permanent set-ups; The Root 44 market in Stellenbosch every weekend and The Range Market in Tokai every Friday evening. To be mobile is a nice balance and allows us, to serve people all over Cape Town, a change of scenery, and a breath of fresh air.”
Q: Tell us the worst experience you’ve had while working from your food truck.
James: “We haven’t had any bad experiences really.. No break downs or anything like that. We’ve done a couple of events that weren’t financially viable. Probably the worst experience was a festival in town with gale force winds! Wind sucks in a food truck!”
Q: And the best experience?
James: “When the team is in the zone and everyone is working well together and pizzas are flying out and people are happy. Getting compliments like ‘that was the best pizza I’ve EVER had!’ is what we do it for. People’s comments and enthusiasm for our brand is the best experience.”
Q: Why do you think food truck culture has suddenly become so popular?
James: “People are just drawn to them. Aesthetically they are just so cool. And the food trucks that make it in the scene serve great food because they are run by people who are passionate about it.”
Q: Do you think it is here to stay? Why?
James: “Definitely! By looking at how quickly the scene has taken off, and how versatile the experience is, it’s filling a gap that people are clearly craving. If you look at how it exploded in the states and has become an institution, I see a similar trend happening here – Maybe on a smaller scale, but certainly here to stay and evolve.”
If you would like to pop round for ‘the best pizza I’ve have ever had’, see where we are serving for the week or book our food truck for an event, visit our website, and social media platforms here. Remind us about this blog and get 5% discount 🙂