Interviews

Get To Know: The Wandering Chef Catering Cart

In an effort to keep bringing you more quality content and help you discover more about the local food scene, I am going to interview people who work in the food business. Anybody who works preparing or serving food or drinks in the Greater Philadelphia area is fare game. So, if you would like to be interviewed for a future article, please fill out the contact form here or email phillygrub@gmail.com.

Chef Mike and Lauren of The Wandering Chef Catering Cart

Chef Mike and his wife Lauren of The Wandering Chef Catering Cart in Newark DE

Last weekend, I sent a tweet asking chefs, restaurants, and food workers to get in touch if they wanted to be featured here. The first (and so far, only) response was from the people behind The Wandering Chef Catering Cart of Newark, Delaware. Somebody has to go first right? I’m glad they offered to be first; we often socialize on Twitter and I am impressed with how social they are.

I sent off some questions to Chef Michael Blovad and his wife Lauren (pictured on the right). Here are their answers with some food photos they provided below.

So tell us about how the “Wandering Chef Catering Cart” came to be? When did it start? Who is behind it? Tell us more about life as a food cart!

As a chef, they hide us in the back. The comments that we get from the wait staff, are mostly negative. The positive comments never seem to work their way to the back of the house. By owning the food cart & direct interaction with my customers, I can take my knowledge of food & apply it to each customer. “It is my greatest joy to make them take a bite of their food before they leave to make sure they are totally satisfied.

The Wandering Chef Catering Cart

The Wandering Chef Catering Cart is a food cart based in Newark, DE.

The University of Delaware & the City of Newark were working out details to allow food carts on City property that was also convenient for UD students, faculty & staff. My wife, Lauren pursued the opportunity. Within 5-6 months we moved to Delaware with our small but mighty food cart in tow. That was June 2011. It was the beginning of The Wandering Chef Catering Cart aka dumpling cart. Now we have 2 carts. Soon we will be announcing the permanent location for the second cart. Stay tuned on social media!

I had my menu planned. I wanted to cook the foods I loved with sauces that represented my passion for flavor & prepared on a 6×4 space. My menu had to be produced with high volume & speed as UD students have limited time to eat between classes. Hence, the small but mighty food cart! We came in 2nd in a food truck competition thanks to my sous chef, Brett.

It looks like you are primarily based in Delaware, but your Twitter says you have wandered to PA and NJ, too. Can we find you in either state in the near future?

We are mainly throughout Delaware. We travel for private & corporate gigs into Philly & areas in NJ. We did travel to northern NJ for a high profile party. We hope to have more of a presence in Philly this coming year.

Wandering Chef Cart Dumplings

Dumplings by The Wandering Chef Food Cart

According to your website, your dumplings are a “fan favorite.” Do tell us more about those dumplings.

Our dumplings with Asian Cuban sauces are the gateway to The Cart. They have been known to transform your day! When we first hit the streets, we sampled our fresh brewed Chinese tea & dumplings to customers. And we continue to do so!

Admittedly, we don’t know much about the DE food scene. What do you think our readers should know about what’s going on down there?

Delaware’s mobile food scene is growing. There are approximately 100 of us food carts & trucks. As we grow, so does the food scene. The city of Wilmington & Downtown Visions is giving us the opportunity to vend in various venues & actively promotes us all! We appreciate all of their hard work!

Your use of social media is commendable. You’re doing a great job keeping active on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Kudos on that – because it’s how I found out about you. Would you say being active on social has improved your business? Tell us some fun stories that include social media and your business.

My wife (Lauren) is the “social media” guru of the business. She will be very happy to hear that you are impressed with her presence on social media. She gives all the credit to John Cohl (chef blogger & food truck/bar consultant extraordinaire) & Dan Pennachietti of Foodfellas (she deemed encyclopedia of the food industry from assisting in concept development to promoting food trucks). They are her gurus to having a bigger presence in Philly as well as on social media.

She also lives vicariously through you as well! She is always texting me your tweets & pictures. I am not social media friendly.

Social media has given us the outreach to meet other food cart/truck owners & everyday people who have the love of food. Our business opportunities has grown. We have been invited to vend in corporate parks, public events & private catering.

What else should we know about the “Wandering Chef”?

We love what we do! We work hard behind the scenes so we can enjoy peoples reactions to our food. We are not just a cart. On UD campus, people come to celebrate their accomplishments & defeats. To many people we have become their “go to good place”.

Wandering Chef Steak BowlWandering Chef Cart Quesadilla

Wandering Chef Cart FoodWandering Chef Cart Chicken

Wandering Chef Cart TacosWandering Chef Cart Shrimp Tacos

Are you a fan? Let us know in the comments below.

Want to be interviewed for a future article? Please fill out the contact form here or email phillygrub@gmail.com.

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