Browsing articles in "food festivals"
Nov 23, 2014
Tina George

Groton hot dog vendor is on a roll

Groton – After a chance encounter with a hot dog vendor in New Hampshire almost 30 years ago, Ken Parker decided he wanted to sell hot dogs, too.

“It was about 1986 and I met this guy in North Conway, N.H., and he had a stainless steel cart and he was selling hot dogs, and he was maybe six-foot-five and well-dressed in this white outfit, and he was just so personable and pleasant,” said Parker, explaining that was the moment hot dog vending became his goal.

“I just got this idea then that I wanted to be in the hot dog business,” said the 57-year-old, who lives in Groton and works full time as a pressman at Copy Cats in New London.

But for decades, the hot dog cart was just a dream. By 1996, Parker was a single father raising three girls on his own, and frankfurters were not on the horizon.

When he moved to southeastern Connecticut about 10 years ago, he continued his career in the printing trade. But then, about five years ago, he met his girlfriend, Desiree Gianndrea, also of Groton, and shared his hot dog idea with her.

“I told her about my dream, and she asked, ‘Where is it?’” said Parker, “and I told her, ‘I figure that dream is gone.’”

But Gianndrea encouraged Parker to not let it go.

“She told me, ‘If you put that dream on a vision board over your bed, and you see it every day, it will become a reality.’”

Parker took Gianndrea’s advice, found photographs and other information about the hot dog cart he wanted on a website, and created a vision board for motivation.

Then he lost a cousin to Lou Gehrig’s disease, and it made him all the more determined.

“It just made me realize, life is short and if you have any kind of dream, you need to fulfill it at any age,” he said.

Two years ago, Parker’s dream was realized.

His only-one-of-its-kind in Connecticut, 6-foot-hot dog cart arrived from Willy Dog Hot Dog Carts in Canada. The construction of his specialty red and yellow cart, shaped like a frankfurter, was the subject of a Discovery Channel “How It’s Made” episode before it was shipped to Connecticut.

Now, Parker is a full-time pressman and a part-time hot dog salesman.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday to Sunday, he and Gianndrea operate Supreme Hot Dogs from the parking lot of Family Car Wash at 802 Poquonnock Road in Groton. They run for longer hours in the summer and will suspend the car wash location at the end of December until next spring, but continue to vend at special events and private parties.

They did a wedding with a carnival theme in northern Connecticut.

“We had an open bar for hot dogs,” Parker said.

And the couple has participated in food festivals in New London, charitable events in Groton, and private parties, concerts and holiday events at marinas, ballparks and businesses all across the region.

On Dec. 5, they will be at an event at Holdridge Home Garden in Ledyard and on Dec. 6 at the Groton Holiday Lights Parade.

There have even been inquiries about a post-wedding party in Newport, R.I., to feed guests after they leave the reception.

Supreme Hot Dogs was in the parking lot after the launch of Church ONEighty at the Nathan Hale School in New London earlier this fall, feeding the hungry after Sunday morning services. And they were up in Baltic for the duration of the Halloween run of the Dark Manor haunted house in October.

Parker said his hot dog dream has finally been realized.

He pulls the $14,000 top-of-the-line cart behind his SUV to follow vending opportunities, and he’s invested in additional equipment that allows him to move his operation indoors when necessary. And he’s broadened his Sabrett hot dog menu to include kielbasa, Georgia Reds Red Hots, and hot and spicy sausages. There is also his chili, which some customers rave is as good as that served at the famous Pink’s Hot Dogs in Los Angeles, and a special onion sauce that Parker makes, as well as fresh chopped onions and jalapenos, all served on Rhode Island’s Calise Bakery rolls.

Prices range from $2 to $5.

“People just love our food,” he said. “Our food is very addicting. And I love the satisfaction I get face-to-face with customers.”

Parker is working seven days a week between his two jobs, but with help from Gianndrea, who is a manager at a local McDonald’s, he’s pleased with the success of Supreme Hot Dogs.

“It’s headed toward full time,” he said of the frankfurter venture, and added, “My whole life, I just wanted to do this.”

a.baldelli@theday.com

Twitter: @annbaldelli

 

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Nov 21, 2014
Tina George

Austin360Eats: Tater Wurst at Wurstfest from @nicoishungry

http://instagram.com/p/vkY33JJm_Z

Wurstfest, New Braunfels’ annual 10-day celebration of sausage, ended last weekend, but not before Austinite @nicoishungry got to try one of these crazy creations called a Tater Wurst.

New to the festival this year, it’s a thin sausage used as a skewer for thinly sliced potatoes, and the whole thing is fried to cook the potatoes into “mighty spicy” crispy chips, Nico reported on Instagram.

We’d love to see photos of what you’re enjoying at area restaurants, but feel free to send in pics from food festivals, supper clubs, coffeeshops, farmers markets or even malls, if you’re starting your Christmas shopping already. Add the #Austin360Eats hashtag on social media, and we’ll pull the photos into a gallery on Austin360.com.

 

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Nov 19, 2014
Tina George

Culinary celebrations

Delhi is all set to witness one of the biggest food melas this November. Well, being a Delhiite myself, the only fair I used to look forward to when I was a kid was the trade fair. After some time, though even the Auto expo gainedits share of popularity. From this year, fairs like The Great Food Show and the aptly named Palate Fest 2014 will take fairs in Delhi to another level; hardcore and dedicated food festivals where the biggest national and international chefs will showcase their skills to the common man.

The Great Food Show will host 17 master classes with celebrity chefs like Kunal Kapur, Vicky Ratnani, Saransh Goila, Saby and Nishant Choubey among others. Speaking on his participation, Chef Saransh says, “I am super charged about the fact that The Great Food Show is taking place in my hometown this time. There will be loads to eat, drink, shop and learn. So be there and get ready for some signature SadakChef cocktail chaats”. As The Great Food show is happening for the first time in Delhi, Sona Bahadur, Editor BBC Good Food India says, “The Great Food Show will definitely be the culinary event of the year. From brilliant food and drink stalls and live master classes by some of my favourite chefs, to unique artisanal produce, the two day fest will serve up a feast of culinary inspiration”.

Both these festivals apart from workshops will have kids’ zone, live entertainment area and food stalls. “The festival isn’t just about eating – it’s about the entire experience. While strolling the grounds of Nehru Park, one will be able to smell the amazing aromas, enjoy live entertainment, watch live cooking and walk through an array of products at the food market. We are also glad to have collaborated with NDMC marking their centenary year celebrations,” says Aditi Kapoor, Founder Director, Palate Fest Pvt. Ltd. Most of the popular restaurants of Delhi NCR such as Farzi Café, Le Bistro du Parc, Khan Chacha, Olive, ITC hotels Dakshin, are participating and putting up their pop up restaurants. So the coming weekends have a lot to offer for foodies in the Capital.

The Great Food Show 22nd – 23rd November at The Grand Vasant Kunj.

New Delhi Palate Fest 2014 28th – 30th November at Nehru Park.

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Nov 19, 2014
Tina George

Organic Farms Become a Winner in Putin’s Feud With the West

MOSCOW — Boris Akimov’s cellphone, which quacks like a duck, started to sound like a whole flock soon after President Vladimir V. Putin imposed sweeping food sanctions barring many Western imports last August.

Major Russian grocery chains, desperate to find new suppliers, tracked down Mr. Akimov, the founder of Russia’s fledgling farm-to-table movement, to ask urgent supply questions. How many chickens and eggs could he provide, they wanted to know, and could he deliver 100 tons of cheese, say, immediately.

Mr. Akimov, 36, who has a heavy beard and an infectious grin, had to turn them away — his 100 farmers produce nowhere near the amounts requested. LavkaLavka, the organic farm cooperative he and a friend set up about five years ago, sells between six and 12 tons of artisanal cheese annually, for example.

“The main thing which the sanctions have already changed is in people’s minds — in government, in business and on the streets, they have started to think more about where their food comes from,” Mr. Akimov said in an interview in his new, homey restaurant in central Moscow, where the light fixtures are sawed-off milk cans painted red. “If the sanctions give a chance to develop local farmers, to develop sustainable agriculture, it is very good. But I am not sure it will happen.”

In August, Russia banned all beef, pork, fish, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia and Norway for one year, retaliating for Western economic sanctions imposed after the Kremlin destabilized Ukraine.

Senior leaders, starting with Mr. Putin, heralded food sanctions as a chance for Russians to finally stock their larders with homegrown products. Dmitri A. Medvedev, the prime minister, released a “road map” for agriculture last month. “The aim of our efforts is to increase our own agricultural produce and to reduce Russia’s dependence on food imports,” he said.

But the content of the road map was basically “watch this space,” with new agricultural policies promised by the end of 2015.

Critics said the government typically announced the sanctions first and thought about the fallout afterward. A range of experts and organizations noted that beyond the populist, patriotic speeches about growing food locally, there is minimal government support when it comes to supplying the new land, long-term credit and transportation logistics that Russian farmers desperately need to expand.

Flying over France’s Cognac region two years ago, Mr. Akimov noticed that every field, every lake, every copse was neatly groomed and exploited — there was no space for new projects. “If you looked at Russia there is nothing, nothing, nothing — you can do everything,” he said.

Russian agriculture basically collapsed twice in the 20th century. Immediately after the revolution, the new Bolshevik government organized what amounted to gangs licensed to strip the countryside of anything edible to feed the agitated urban poor. Output dropped to half what it had been in 1913.

Production had just recovered when forced collectivization started in 1928. Stalin decided that Russian grain exports would underwrite large-scale industrialization, and by 1937, 90 percent of Russian farmers had been pushed onto collective farms. Those who resisted were killed or sent to the gulag.

After the Soviet Union disintegrated, the government advanced large-scale corporate farming and basically favored imports.

“Peasants have always been second-class citizens — during the czarist era, during Soviet times and still today,” said Vladimir V. Miloserdov, an agriculture expert raised on a collective farm in southern Russia, who vividly recalls the maximum two sacks of grain his family received as its annual salary.

In the last 20 years, more than 106 million acres of arable land have fallen out of production, Mr. Miloserdov said, and Russia has fewer cattle now than it did in the 1940s.

Experts agree that is a sorry state of affairs for the largest country on earth.

Far from spurring production, sanctions so far have served mostly to raise food prices. Inflation has risen to 8.3 percent this year, well above the anticipated 6 percent, with the rise attributed to escalating food prices as local producers exploit shortages or importers pass on the costs of shipping in salmon from places like Chile instead of nearby Norway.

Prices for meat and poultry rose more than 18 percent through October, while dairy products were up by over 15 percent, according to the federal statistics agency, Rosstat.

“Russia cannot provide itself with dairy products, fish, vegetables and other types of food,” said Mikhail Anshakov, the head of the Society for the Protection of Consumer Rights, which calls for food sanctions to be rescinded. “Self-imposed sanctions under these circumstances were madness.”

The public has generally supported the sanctions, however, because the Kremlin wrapped the idea in nationalist colors, and state-run television regularly broadcasts programs showing supermarkets bursting with goods from Africa, Asia and Latin America. While the foreign news media tend to focus on the dismay of the urban elite over the sudden dearth of oysters and foie gras, Mr. Anshakov said, the real story is the potential gap in providing staples like milk.

Dairy farms have plenty of forage at the end of summer, he said, but with winter comes the main challenge to farming in Russia — virtually the entire country freezes. At that point dairy companies usually import vast amounts of powdered milk to mix with real milk, Mr. Anshakov said. “Now with the sanctions that is impossible,” he said, with powdered milk from traditional suppliers barred.

Some farmers, however, have been slightly gleeful about their prospects under sanctions.

Justus Walker, an American immigrant farmer in Siberia, became a YouTube sensation for a short news clip showing him laughing at the thought that he could finally sell the mozzarella he produces because the cheaper Italian variety would no longer be available.

Chicken is another example. Only about 10 percent of chickens sold in Russia come from abroad, mostly from the United States. Sanctions were a gold mine for local producers as imports no longer kept prices down.

But experts said that over the long run higher prices would not overcome more basic problems faced by small local farmers like those who sell through LavkaLavka. (Lavka means “little shop” in Russian.)

Andrey Ovchinnikov, 53, worked as an interior designer when a friend’s endeavor persuaded him to become a chicken farmer. Sales went well, but he could get neither the credit nor the land to expand. He raises thousands of birds on less than an acre. Since his farm sits about 50 miles from Moscow, prime country for dachas, the local government has been reluctant to give him land it can sell at a premium.

After almost a year of cajoling, he finally persuaded local officials to at least visit his farm this month. “I cannot say the government is really paying attention to agriculture yet, but at least they are looking in our general direction,” he said.

LavkaLavka has made getting that attention its mission.

The cooperative started after Mr. Akimov, then the creative director for an online magazine, and his friend Sasha Mikhailov, an information technology specialist, started paging through the most famous cookbook from czarist times, “A Gift to Young Housewives.” The two men kept stumbling across unfamiliar root vegetables like rutabagas, parsnips and scorzonera.

“When you read this book you wonder how many interesting things there were, how many delicious things we had here in Russia that disappeared during the Soviet period,” Mr. Akimov said.

The two began rooting around in farmers markets near Moscow for ingredients, and eventually their hobby “changed from a hedonistic project to a social project” to support local, organic farmers, Mr. Akimov said. They now run five shops, two small cafes and a restaurant.

Members of the collective hope sanctions stick around long enough for Russians to start exploring their own food, not just substitute imports from China or Turkey for what once came from the United States and Europe.

To try to speed that process, LavkaLavka has started monthly food festivals celebrating something local. This month it is the parsnip, which is called pasternak in Russian, just like the surname of the “Doctor Zhivago” author.

“If you ask a Russian what is a pasternak, he will say a famous writer,” Mr. Akimov said, “It is a vegetable, but nobody knows it.”

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Nov 19, 2014
Tina George

Travel top 10: Strange food festivals

Food fetes

On the eve of the nation’s most beloved and pie-centric holiday, it seems only fitting to celebrate food festivals around the world, no matter how odd they may seem. Actually, the odder the better. So here, with a little help from Food Wine magazine, are the top 10 weird food fetes, from an epic tomato fight in Spain to a tuna toss in Australia.

1. BugFest, Raleigh, North Carolina

2. La Tomatina, Buñol, Spain

3. Tunarama Festival, Port Lincoln, Australia

4. Maine Lobster Festival, Rockland, Maine

5. Chinchilla Melon Festival, Chinchilla, Australia

6. International Pancake Day, Olney, England

7. Yuma Lettuce Days, Yuma, Arizona

Gerry Foisy wears a hat adorned with garlic cloves at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, in Gilroy, Calif., on Friday, July 25, 2014.  (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News

8. Pierogi Fest, Whiting, Indiana

9. Gilroy Garlic Festival, Gilroy

10. Waikiki Spam Jam, Honolulu

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Nov 18, 2014
Tina George

Restaurant Australia Digs in Down Under

PHOTO: Cooking Schools at the Lake House outside of Melbourne are hybrids of food and experience. (Courtesy of of Lake House)

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Even Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his angry rush to throw a cold shoulder to the other world leaders at the G20 Summit (Nov. 15 and 16 in Brisbane) by leaving early was composed enough to stay for dinner, before leaving. These days, the people that know Australian cooking never miss a chance to stay for dinner.

In its long quest to locate the spark that will ignite international travelers to finally act on their bucket list desires to visit down under, Tourism Australia (TA) has been serving up the quality of Australian food in its Restaurant Australian promotional campaign. Since it launched early this year, the Restaurant Australia campaign has been showcasing the country’s food and wine experiences, bringing together stories of the country’s people, produce and places.

The Invite the World to Dinner event took place on Nov. 14 in the capital of Tasmania, Hobart. It brought together scores of international food and wine writers, celebrity chefs and TV personalities coming to dine with such Aussie foodies as Maggie Beer, Matt Preston and Matt Moran to sample a menu created by Restaurant Australia Head Chefs Ben Shewry, Peter Gilmore and Neil Perry AM.

It was the climax event of TA’s Restaurant Australia campaign, and TA estimates the VIP guests had an influence reach of 400 million. That’s a lot of hungry travelers. The event took place at Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart. Food and wine offer a strong travel component not only at the table but in visiting wineries, artisanal food producers, food festivals and more.

“What our chefs pulled together and the setting in which the meal was served was nothing short of breathtaking and has truly demonstrated the exceptional quality and unique produce we have on offer here in Australia,” said John O’Sullivan, managing director Tourism Australia. “We hope all of our guests head home with the taste of Australia still firmly imprinted on their palate, and we look forward to them sharing their experiences with their many followers.” These culinary VIPS also toured the country to experience more than a thousand of Australia’s best food and wine offerings in every state and territory.

Surveys by TA of Americans who have travelled in Australia ranked the country as the #1 destination for food and wine, surpassing even France and Italy. It’s the kind of ranking Australia’s been topping a lot lately. In September, for instance, Sydney was named World Festival Event City for the fifth consecutive year by the International Festivals Events Association.

As for those other VIPS at the G20 Summit in Brisbane, the event not only attracted heads of state, but also dignitaries from the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Labour Organization, the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund. Some 4,000 high-clout visitors and, maybe even more importantly, the press coverage from 3,000 international media showcased Brisbane as more than a holiday hub for domestic Australian travelers.

Who Is Down Under?

One of the core urgencies for TA is to send a message that Australia is not an edge of the world destination. The country is very much in the middle of things politically and culturally. This makes the promotion of events even more important because events bring leaders to the destination, and people follow leaders.

The new $1.1 billion International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) has already confirmed 17 events for 2017 and beyond. Meanwhile, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre will be extended to keep up with the increasing demand for event space. The expansion is looking to include additional exhibition and banquet space, smaller meeting rooms, new plenary options and an exciting new indoor-outdoor networking and entertainment space.

“Securing major events has been a priority for Destination NSW, the government’s tourism and major events agency, as we work towards achieving our goal of doubling overnight visitor expenditure by 2020,” said Destination New South Wales (DNSW) CEO, Sandra Chipchase. In 2014, aggressively sought out and put on such high profile events as the 2014 Opening Series of Major League Baseball, the National Rugby League Grand Final Week, Vivid Sydney, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, owned and managed by Destination NSW.

The TA has for several years now been doing more to integrate travel marketing with food and wine marketing. More than a decade ago they even made an important wine marketing executive, Ken Boundy, the head of TA. This year TA brought together some 200 partners in food and wine to promote the quality of its culinary product in the “There’s nothing like Australia” campaign. Recent studies done in 2012 showed that highlighting the country’s best food and wine tourism experiences increased consumer motivation to travel to Australia by 30 percent.

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Nov 18, 2014
Tina George

America’s 10 Best Fall Food Festivals

Fall is a time for loosing pant strings and gearing up for the most American form of celebration: eating and drinking. Travel around the country feasting on an abundance of seasonal eats like apple pies and pumpkin brews, while sampling the local flavors of each state and region. Here are ten food festivals across America to keep you nice and full, just in time for Thanksgiving.
National Apple Harvest:October 4-5 and 11-12
Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, the National Apple Harvest Festival has something for all ages. Strolling musicians and entertainers set the tone of the day, while activities like petting zoos, chainsaw carving, and Native American dancers ensure constant fun. Dont forget to experience the main reason you attended: the apples. Choose your favorite way to enjoy this seasonal treat, whether its bobbing for candied apples, enjoying a warm slice of homemade pie, or visiting the apple pancake patio.
Welfleet Oysterfest:October 18-19
The end of summer doesnt mean an end to seafood. Head to Welfleet, Massachusetts for some of the Capes finest oysters. Originally founded to spread awareness for the towns fishery industry, Oysterfest is a delicious way to support a local economy. Whet your appetite with the annual shucking contest and then gather your friends to see who can make their own record.
New York City Wine and Food Festival:October 16-19
Now in its seventh year, the annual Food Network hosted culinary event returns to New York City, bringing together famed chefs from around the world. Armed with their goal of ending child hunger, the New York City Wine and Food Festival donates all of its profits towards this end. Visitors will have the opportunity to see some of the greatest talents in the culinary and spirits industries through dinners, tastings, and panels.
Harvest on the Harbor:October 22-25
Portland, Maines Harvest on the Harbor event is a push to promote Maine as a culinary destination. With picturesque harbor views, lobster as fresh as it comes, and over 160 culinary vendors, the harbor festival makes its mark on the food festival scene. For a special experience, sign up for the Harvest Dinner, a tasting accompanied by the Kotzschmar Organ as you sample the best of Maines local flavor.
Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta:September 24-28
Get a taste of the west with Santa Fes five day Wine and Chile Fiesta. Enjoy chef demonstrations, wine seminars, luncheons, and dinners, followed by the Gran Fondo 50 mile bike ride to get back into fighting shape. With options from over 90 wineries and 75 Santa Fe based restaurants, youll have no trouble filling five days of endless tasting.
Great American Beer Festival:October 2-4
Youd be hard pressed to find a beer not represented at the Great American Beer Festival. Come with your tank empty and be prepared to enjoy one of Americas favorite pastimes. Worried about your resilience? Stop for a snack at the Farm to Table Pavilion, try a new flavor from the American Cheese Society, or join one of the many pairings of the day, like hot dogs ales.
Sonoma County Harvest Fair:October 3-5
Now in its 40th year, the Sonoma County Harvest Fair offers wine connoisseurs the chance to experience the best of the annual harvest. Sample vintages from over 150 wineries around the Sonoma region and purchase your favorites in the wine country marketplace. Sweet toothed visitors can enjoy the port and chocolate pairing, while live demonstrations, grape stomping, and harvest workshops ensure there is something for everyone.
 
Feast Portland: September 18-21

Now in its third year, Feast Portlandbrings a taste of the Pacific Northwest to the public, hosted by Bon Appetite Magazine. Mixing local talent with worldwide culinary masters, visitors can imbibe and indulge while supporting a good cause; all profits go towards feeding hungry children throughout Oregon.
Music City Food + Wine Festival:September 20-21
Now in its second year, Nashvilles Music City Food and Wine Festival shares a taste of the south through culinary bites and music selections, curated by festival co-founders and Kings of Leon band mates Caleb and Nathan Followill. Learn the art of burning food, discover the proper way to shuck an oyster, and gain tips on turning a culinary disaster into a success.
Columbus Oktoberfest:September 26-28
Cant make it to Munich? Columbus, Ohio has you covered with their recreation of the annual Oktoberfest. Don your dirndl and lederhosen as you sip foamy beers, enjoy warm pretzels and sausages, and walk among the strolling musicians. Prost!
This article has been posted with permission and originally appeared as America’s 10 Best Fall Food Festivals on Honest Cooking.
This article originally appeared as America’s 10 Best Fall Food Festivals on Relish

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Nov 16, 2014
Tina George

Caterers, food trucks frequent Pasco commercial kitchen

— Late at night, while most of the tenants at Compark 75 are gone for the day, Suite 107 fills up with the aroma of Cincinnati-style chili. Other nights, it could be vanilla with hints of lemon and lavender as hundreds of individual creme brulees bake in a warm bath.

Or during the day, it could be the garlicky brine of a local dill pickle vendor, or the pungent ghost peppers of a hot sauce aficionado.

The smells and tastes created in Pasco’s first Your Pro Kitchen franchise are as varied as the people producing them. Founded in 2008 by Cindy Pickering, the business offers a fully equipped commercial kitchen to dozens of caterers, food truck owners and food-based businesses. Clients can access the facility any time of day to prepare and package food. They can get supplies delivered to the site and even install their own refrigerators.

“It’s really a food service incubator,” Pickering said.

Your Pro Kitchen has five locations in Florida, and a sixth franchise will open in December on Gandy Boulevard in South Tampa.

Land O’ Lakes residents Jan and Jack McNerney own the Lutz/Wesley Chapel franchise, which opened in the spring. Each has been trained to help clients acquire the proper certifications to legally prepare and sell food products.

“They’ve helped me so much,” cupcake vendor Cynthia Joseph said. “They taught me about insurance, labeling and about networking and advertising.”

She now has corporate clients who order gift boxes of her gourmet cupcakes for their customers.

Food truck operator Ben Laffey said the location is perfect for him. “When I heard about this place, I must have called Jan and Jack every two weeks and asked are you open yet?”

Laffey said he lives five minutes away. “I can cook in the food truck, but it just makes more sense to do it here,” he said. “I make 20 pounds of chili at a time.” He also makes his own relish and other gourmet hot dog toppers, such as grilled bacon.

Laffey said he’s trying to come up with a creative new spin on the traditional hot dog lunch.

Other clients, such as Le’Ann Jackson, rely on family recipes passed down to each generation. She and her husband recently started a bakery business focusing on her great-grandmother’s cheesecake. They ship the cakes whole, which start at $45, and sell them by the slice at food festivals and markets.

“This is a 100-year-old recipe,” Jackson said. “It’s not like any other cheesecake — it’s light and airy.”

Jennifer Tontini named her candy and sweets business after her grandmother, who went by the name “Suga’Plum.” She also uses her grandmother’s caramel and fudge recipes. “She taste tests everything,” Tontini said.

Tiffany Gandolfo got into the food business by accident ­— after discovering her lifelong health issues were a result of food allergies. She now cooks and packages vegan and paleo meals from scratch and sells them to clients in frozen, single-serve portions that can be microwaved or boiled directly in the bag. Her biggest seller is jerk chicken with cabbage and potatoes. She makes everything from scratch.

“We ship them all over the country packed in dry ice,” Gandolfo said. “I get a lot of referrals from physicians.”

lkinsler@tampatrib.com

(813) 371-1852

Twitter @LKinslerTBO

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