Staying cool in a hot food truck takes cold water, creativity

vbridges@newsobserver.comJuly 15, 2013 

Shop Talk reporter Virginia Bridges asked food truck owners how they keep cool during the summer. This is what they said.

•  “Keeping cool inside the food truck is like keeping cool in a sauna, almost impossible,” said Ryan McFadyen, owner and chef of Phat Wrapz, which sells unique and traditional wraps. “However we do a few things to help with the heat such as running cold water on our wrists every hour because there is a main vein right there that can help cool you down a little bit. We eat smaller meals more often rather than large quantities of food at a time. And I have even eaten spicy food to activate receptors that cause you to sweat more, which actually circulates your body’s temperature.”

•  “Sometimes I sing Christmas carols to keep cool,” said Alex Swearingen, head chef for Baguettaboutit food truck, which serves gourmet sausage-stuffed baguettes. “Lots and lots of cold water.”

•  “We’ve learned to make crepes with our eyes closed,” said Jody Argote, owner of Parlez-Vous Crepe, which specializes in authentic, made-to-order sweet and savory crepes. “That way we can better visualize the intense heat is from the sun’s rays as we lie on a pristine beach somewhere in Aruba.”

•  “All kitchens are hot, not just food trucks. Food truck kitchens are just a bit more visible, and sometimes a sunny spot can make it extra steamy,” said Nate Adams, co-owner of Chirba Chirba Dumpling, which serves Chinese-style dumplings. “We hydrate before service and drink electrolyte drinks throughout the shift. We rotate staff to make sure everyone can take a breather if necessary. Equipment must be kept clean and in working order to aid in ventilation.”

•  “The highest our truck has gotten was 110 degrees last year in August. It’s always 10 to 15 degrees hotter in the belly of the beast than it is outside,” said Paul Inserra, owner and operator at American Meltdown, which serves gourmet melts and grilled cheese. “Our favorite trick is to freeze a water-soaked rag, or (chilly pad) and wrap it around our neck. Cools us down quick. We are lucky to have a freezer on board.”

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