Food Truck Empire
By Alex Cantatore
Next time you see the Cupcake Lady food truck, don’t be distracted by those delicious frosted confections. Instead, take a closer look at the
state-of-the-art truck that houses the local business — and look for the plate reading “Made by Cal-Central Catering, Modesto, CA.”
Cal-Central Catering is now one of the nation’s top food truck manufacturing companies, offering totally custom trucks to small businesspeople in Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and even Alabama.
The business recently expanded to a new, 30,000 square-foot facility in Modesto’s Beard Industrial District, just the latest step to success for Mexico-born Ignacio Ochoa.
“This is a true American success story,” said David White, CEO of the Stanislaus Business Alliance, at a grand opening ceremony for the new facility.
Ochoa emigrated in 1988, hoping simply to support his family. He did some electrical work in Los Angeles, then moved to Fresno. In 1996 he came to Modesto and stumbled into the food truck business; as a chef, he sold seafood on Crow s Landing Road from an old, beat-up truck.
Ochoa bought his own truck in 1999. And as he became familiar with the truck, he had a breakthrough.
“He said, ‘Why not build one?’ So he did,” explained his daughter, Estephani Ochoa.
He built that first truck in his backyard — without thinking about how he’d get it out past the fence. Ochoa sold his his first truck in 2002, then opened up a shop on Kansas Avenue.
“Now, 13 years later, we are here thanks to the help of Modesto.” Estephani Ochoa said. The business can produce about 50 trucks a year, with each truck taking about six weeks
to build. Cal-Central Catering produces every aspect of each fully-custom truck, welding the case, the interiors, and even the stovetops and steam tables — everything but the refrigerators.
Now, Ochoa is helping other local people pursue their dreams and open their own small businesses. And his own business is thriving.
“The day’s going to come when you’re going to be like one of those Gallos, one of those Foster Farms,” Stanislaus County Supervisor Terry Withrow told Ochoa.
For More Information, visit cal central.us.