Food Trucks: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

April 27, 2012

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The Enemy Kitchen mobile food truck. Photo by Louisa Chu.

Chef-driven food trucks are one of the hottest trends in the food world, thanks to the multi-million dollar success of the Kogi BBQ truck in Los Angeles, serving their now infamous kimchi quesadillas and Korean BBQ tacos. They’re also one of the most controversial food topics in Chicago, where food must be pre-packaged and cooking on board is not allowed. But how did the construction site canteen transform into gourmet road food—and in one case, a food truck as art?

Louisa Chu—WBEZ’s food blogger and an international restaurant veteran—traces the history of modern food trucks through her own personal journey to start a food truck of her own.

This talk was part of the Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance's fifth annual symposium, "Road Food: Exploring the Midwest One Bite at a Time." Other events from this symposium recorded by Chicago Amplified—listed in the order they were presented—are as follows:

Marked for Life: My Travels on Route 66 in '53, with Terri Ryburn
State Fair Heirloom Recipe Contest, with Catherine Lambrecht
Mobile Food in 19th-Century Chicago, with Peter Engler
Food Trucks: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, with Louisa Chu
Will Success Spoil Regional Food?, with Michael Stern
The Drive-In Restaurant: Before and After the Dawn of Fast Food, Food Theater, with Mary Bergin
A Gopher Turned Badger Eats Hoosier, and Vice Versa: Midwestern Culinary Traditions in the Small-Town Cafe, with Joanne Stuttgen
What Happened to Horseshoes?, with Julianne Glatz
Pies on the Road, with Shirley Cherkasky
Ethnographic Food Writing, or How I Ate My Way Across Wisconsin and Lived to Tell About It, with Joanne Stuttgen
Culinary Tourism in the Land of Meat and Potatoes and Green Bean Casserole, with Lucy M. Long
Summer Vacations in Northern Wisconsin, with Kelly Sears
Born to be Mild: Oral Histories and Pathways of the Midwest Supper Club, with Dave Hoekstra
Farmers Markets of the Heartland, the Ultimate Road Trip, with Janine MacLachlan
On the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, with Clara Orban
Remarks by Marilyn Wilkinson of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board
Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art Curator-Led Tour

Recorded Friday, April 27, 2012 at Kendall College.