cover-storyfeatured-food-and-wineIssue 16

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Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 12.38.22 PMFrom Kickstarter to a reality with Modesto’s Food Fix Truck.

A block from MJC’s East Campus, in a dusty parking lot next to a faded brick warehouse, a bright orange food truck is shaking up Stanislaus County’s culinary community. Welcome to the Food Fix Truck, Stanislaus County’s newest food sensation.

Whether you’re in the neighborhood, or just a friend of a friend on Facebook, chances are good that you’ve already spent some time salivating over the Food Fix Truck’s unique offerings. The mobile menu of fresh, handmade creations – including the iconic “Porkstrami Sandwich” – has made a splash measurable in long lines of hungry customers and a never-ending stream of social media check-ins, likes and shares. Not bad for a kitchen that just passed its twelfth week in operation.

For Modesto-native Hank Olson, founder and chef of the Food Fix Truck, it’s been a crazy few months.Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 12.42.36 PM

“This all came from an idea I’ve had for a couple years,” says Olson. “I’d been saying that I wanted to start a food truck and create something new. Food that’s creative, and really mine. I just kept talking about it. It was time to do something about it.”

Olson, who has been cooking since he was 15 with stints at top restaurants in the Bay Area and Chicago, decided to seek help from Kickstarter to make his dream a reality. It was on the crowd-sourced funding platform that the Food Fix Truck started to gain its loyal following. With the passionate promise of great food made from scratch using fresh, local ingredients, Olson piqued the interest of donors from across California. Three short weeks later, 167 backers had donated nearly $20,000.

“Kickstarters are crazy beasts,” Olson said. “At first, you have to keep people interested, but once it gets to the end, you just can’t stop people. They end up so passionate about the project. We ended up passing our goal by almost two grand. I was blown away.”

But running a successful Kickstarter was only the beginning. From finalizing the menu to finding and modding the perfect truck, it took nearly seven months for Olson, his family and supporters to get the Food Fix Truck ready for business.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 12.42.50 PMOlson and his staff officially opened the window of the Food Fix Truck to eager customers January.

“It’s a gypsy business,” laughs Olson, who has also taught budding chefs for the last seven years at the Culinary Academy in Modesto’s Institute of Technology. “You never know what you’re going to get each time you open that window.”

That’s never been truer than it was this past March, when Olson’s truck staff opened the window to find celebrity chef and TV host Alton Brown bellied up to the counter.

“It was only our 10th week in business and Alton Brown is eating our porkstrami thanks to social media,” Olson marveled. “Social media is really how this thing runs, but having Alton Brown come by and give us a rave got us over a thousand likes overnight!”

The boost didn’t stop at social media, though. Since Brown’s visit, the Food Fix Truck has been on the radar of foodies all across the region. Each weekday, the truck’s phenomenal following has sent hundreds of new and repeat customers flocking to get their own Food Fix.

It’s been a bigScreen Shot 2015-05-05 at 12.43.20 PM year for the truck that Chef Olson built, but he says that he’s still just focused on providing fresh, delicious food to his customers.

“I am all about fresh and local, and since we’re in the heart of the Valley, we can do that. Eventually, I want to showcase local farms in all of our dishes. I love using good products like that.

“It’s been so gratifying seeing the ideas I have come together,” says Olson. “It’s been a ton of work, but it’s going well and people like it. That’s pretty cool.”


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