Surely Shimond Bradley, chef and operator of The Crazy Pig food truck, didn't invest his time and money into Johnson and Wales University for a culinary degree to work in 120-plus degree heat in a virtual hot box for slim wages and a never-ending workload.
Or maybe he did.
Bradley has been burning up the pavement between Dallas and Fort Worth, pushing out paper boats of culinary items like house-made porchetta, pan-fried rabbit and confit potato wedges with crème fraiche. We caught up with him recently and racked up his top 11 lessons from operating a food truck in the summer in Texas:
1. Understanding that the air conditioning probably isn't going to run when it's hot outside is really important. Circuits pop easily, so you just have to live with that fact. Keeping the coolers for the food running is more important than the AC.
2. It can get well over 120 degrees inside the truck when we're cooking. At that point, the repetitive actions I learned in school and working in busy kitchens takes over.
3. The heat really isn't the worst part. Nothing ever goes right in the kitchen. That unknown is usually the biggest pain in the ass of the day.
4. Location is a really big challenge too. There's not a leeway in the city of Dallas, so it makes establishing spots in Dallas difficult.
5. Never take yourself too seriously.
6. Bungee cords are my number one friend. They keep equipment in place when traveling; they hold doors so they don't fly open and many other things that pop up (or out or open). 7. Every chef needs a Rigo Bernal. Rigo handles the window, serving food and talking to our customers, while sous chef Connor and I take care of all the cooking. It's impossible to cook and see the customers, but that aspect is so important.
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8. A 30-minute drive to Fort Worth (or anywhere) is an opportunity for a nap. Rest up whenever you can.
9. The opportunity to kick back doesn't happen often, so you have to learn to take advantage of whatever opportunity is in front of you.
10. I try to remind myself that this isn't just a business but a way of life. I try to have a lot of fun with it.
11. I'll take all this every single day because it's still 10 times better than working for the man. I go home every day with a smile on my face knowing that.