I am feeling as raw as steak tartare before being dressed… like a piece of toro falling off the blade of a Masahiro… like carpaccio awaiting a drizzle of good olive oil and sea salt. I’m feeling exposed as in a dream in which I’m walking down the streets naked…. like a negative that has just been shown light… like an infant entering the world.
Ideas are running through my head faster than I know what to do with them. There are several opportunities and exciting possibilities in development at the moment, but they have yet to take on enough of a shape to elaborate on with great confidence. Even the name of the net company all of these ventures will fall under is still too abstract to announce. Soon enough it will take on more of a shape, but my first business model cannot wait for that to be presentable.
What I can say, is that I am making the best effort to launch something as quickly as possible without bringing in outside investors. This is where a lot of the rawness comes in. I feel incredibly exposed and determined to not only bring in a positive cash flow in an unreasonably short period of time for a start up, but to continue providing for my family with the additional burden of paying for health care thrown on top of the mix. There are times that I have questioned myself, and there have been times I’ve desired the comfort of preparing refined cuisine in my old stomping grounds. For now I am the prep cook, line cook, head chef, gopher, accountant, PR agent, driver, and even pot washer of this venture. This aside, I am now on the field playing and not on the sideline watching the action. Hopefully this will be my time to shine, but I’d be lying to say I wasn’t frightened with all that’s at stake.
In a recent conversation I had with great friend, I came to the simple conclusion that my mind really needs to be focused on one thing first: Getting my food into the bellies of as many people as I can, and doing it in a fast enough manner that it may cause them indigestion (in the abstract sense). Along the way, I came close to signing up for a large scale pop up, but didn’t bite on it as I was unwilling to take the time commitment and financial burden without great confidence that it would be worth while. It was tough putting down my ego, but the chance will still be there down the line should I get my feet under me. There just is very little room for error in my world right now. In the meantime, another smaller and more casual attempt is almost a done deal.
One of my favorite Brazilian songs is called Samba de Uma Nota (One Note Samba) by Tom Jobim. In translation, the lyrics refer to how a song is built upon a single note, how every note that follows comes as a result of the one before, but how they all are still rooted in that first note. Even though the song and melody may stray, all that has to be done for it to come back together is to go back to the original note. That is how the concept for this first food truck became ‘Meatyballs’.
About a year ago, my wife and I made meatballs at home. It posed a challenge in a kosher home, since you are not allowed to combine meat and dairy, and every good meatball I have ever made or eaten uses milk to help achieve the proper texture. To get around this, I substituted Coca-Cola and the results were fantastic. We began speaking of how great it would be to open a fast food meatball shop (this was before there were any anywhere), and I threw out the name of Meatyballs. Kenni thought it the perfect name, and I began building a business plan and brought on a realtor to help search out locations. A couple of them fit the bill, but each had a pitfall that prevented me from pulling the trigger. For the record, we are NOT making kosher meatballs for the business.
The plan was still in motion when I was suspended from the hotel last December, and I realized I may need to get something up faster than I thought. The food truck concept took hold. I contacted a well respected journalist to cover the story of a fine dining chef leaving his gig to open a food truck, found out Chicago doesn’t allow for food trucks, started cold calling aldermen, and the rest of the story has been pretty well chronicled. It is now nine months later, and depending on how things turn out, I’m either coincidentally or ironically in the same position again of needing to get a business up on the fly. Only this time it is not a false alarm.
Like everything about my new venture, it will remain fluid. What you see one day may not be reflective of what is there tomorrow. What our moods are and what we learn from the people and experiences on the street will have as much bearing on what will come tomorrow as anything. So stay tuned and follow @FossFoodTrucks and me on Twitter to get real time updates on when and where we will be out on the town.
Hope to feed you soon.