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101 Best Food Truck Feature: Komodo Truck

101 Best Food Truck Feature: Komodo Truck


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The Los Angeles-based food truck Komodo Truck made it to number 71 on our list of 101 Best Food Trucks in America 2013. The truck has gained fame and a following while serving a menu aimed at highlighting LA’s diversity with Asian-Mexican fusion burritos.

We caught up with the truck after the release of our list to learn more about their story and future plans.

When did you launch your truck?
We launched in late 2009.

What was the inspiration for going into this business?
Chef Erwin was a fine dining chef at Hotel Bel Air for years and the hotel went on a renovation hiatus and furloughed everyone. Originally, chef Erwin wanted to do a hot dog cart that we would wheel out in the middle of the night after concerts. He had love for late-night snacks, growing up in East LA and eating delicious tortas and tacos at night. After much investigating, he discovered that going into a food truck business was pretty affordable during the recession (when most people are terrified of starting a business). He gathered a few partners and friends to back his idea of fusing good restaurant-style dishes into an approachable, affordable, accessible format and bringing them to the streets. There it was — Komodo was born. His inspiration was all about fusing his Southeast Asian background of home cooking, his classical French training, and his past work experience dabbling in coastal California cuisine. The menu is truly reflective of a melting pot of idea that is Los Angeles.

What's the story behind the origin of your truck's name?
Chef Erwin's dad grew up near the Komodo island. The Komodo dragons are an endangered species existing in Indonesia. Chef Erwin wanted to honor his heritage by naming the truck Komodo. The Komodo dragon is truly a suitable mascot for our business. As a lizard, it is large, fast-moving, and incredibly unique. They are essentially blind, possess poor hearing, and heavily rely on their tongues to hunt and get around their environment. Their sense of taste is their arsenal for survival, the compass to their everyday.

How did you come up with your truck's design? Is there a designer you'd like to give a shout-out to?

It was truly a collaborative effort between the partners. We wanted to keep the truck simple, sleek. At the time, all of the loncheras were white and we wanted something stark, graphic, and effortless. Hence the simplicity of our truck design; we wanted it to crossover to appeal to many different types of clienteles, whether super high-end or street food patrons.

Does your truck have a vanity license plate? And if so, what does it say?
No.


America's Favorite Food Truck — We Have a Winner

This season of The Great Food Truck Race has introduced America to eight delicious food trucks, including the two finalists, Hodge Podge and The Lime Truck. While the race on TV winds down, the race to vote for America’s Favorite Food Truck has ended and we have a winner: Chef Tai's Mobile Gourmet Food Truck from College Station, Texas.

The contest to name America’s Favorite Food Truck started back in July with nearly 600 trucks and asked fans to nominate and vote for their favorite local truck. Over four million people voted and now, Chef Tai can claim the grand prize of $10,000 and the chance to appear on season three of The Great Food Truck Race.

We caught up with Chef Tai Lee to ask him about his passion on wheels, as well as what we can expect from him in the future. Not only is he a Texas A&M graduate, but he’s stuck to his roots and parks his truck around campus, serving the crowd he knows best.

FN Dish: You are a Texas A&M grad and you've opened up your truck in Aggieland -- you didn't go very far. Tell us your thinking behind opening up a food truck near campus.

Chef Tai: Well, I was originally going to open my business in Houston or several other cities, but as a new aspiring chef and restaurateur, I figured it would be safer to open in the city where I understood the market and where I had the strongest support from local friends and alumni at Texas A&M University.

FN Dish: Your menu is a "fun and inexpensive alternative to an upscale dining experience." Talk to us about it.

Chef Tai: We serve gourmet food at Veritas Wine & Bistro, where I am the executive chef. I wanted to take those dishes and add a touch of quirkiness to them, without charging more than I needed to. For example, instead of popular chili cheese fries, I serve Sweet Potato Poutine With Shiitake Cream Sauce and Melted Cheddar Cheese to offer a twist. Instead of an everyday hamburger, I created a gourmet burger using American Wagyu beef and spicy mayonnaise made with Sriracha chili paste. These entrees cost less than $10, including tax on the truck, but many of these same menu items are found at Veritas for a minimum of $15.

FN Dish: If you had to choose: pulled pork or short ribs?

Chef Tai: This is a mean question, since I could eat short ribs every day. But then again, I am a huge fan of pork. Pork is versatile and inexpensive, so we can offer more bang for the buck to our customers. But if I had to choose, I would have to go with short ribs for their flavor and texture. Get my recipe for Pulled Pork BBQ.

FN Dish: You have a dedicated fan base that helped you reach #1. What would you like to say to them?

Chef Tai: Local residents, Aggie alumni and their friends and family have helped me get to this point. I am nothing without them and I am truly grateful for what they have done for me personally and professionally. I love everyone who has supported me for the past 10 years of my cooking career and who will continue to support me for many more.

FN Dish: What do you plan on doing with the $10,000?

Chef Tai: Part of it will be used for the Texas Wildfire Relief Charity, and rest of it will be used to fix up our food truck to be interstate travel ready.

FN Dish: If you make it to season three, what's the one lesson you've learned from this season that you'll take with you?

Chef Tai: Many lessons from both seasons one and two have been already been applied to our daily operation. With that being said, being flexible with menu planning will play a pivotal role.

FN Dish: I’m sure you’ve been watching The Great Food Truck Race closely. Who have you been rooting for?

Chef Tai: I must say Hodge Podge -- the team is very passionate about what they do. They’ve been through some tough challenges, but they always seem to pull it together last minute.


Questions? Talk to Dennis the founder/designer directly +1 (424) 653-6884

Why buy a Komodo Kamado..

I’m Dennis Linkletter, founder and creator of Komodo Kamado grills.
Why Komodo Kamado?
Are you someone who appreciates fine quality, insists on having the best of the best and won’t compromise when purchasing equipment? .

Someone who understands great design and wants something beautiful when they look out on their deck?
Then a Komodo Kamado is for you.
That being said…we know our grills are not for everyone — and that's ok.
If a high quality, super grill seems ridiculous to you. there are many.. much more “main stream” glazed-pot kamados on the market.
Some people claim Komodo’s costly features and components are outright lavish and extravagant. and they’re right.
Does a grill really need high-tech insulation or CNC laser cut components? Absolutely not.
On the other hand, if you value overkill and unsurpassed performance….
and think that a ceramic grill with 238 lbs of 304 stainless is awesome.
We are building grills for you.
And…
You’re going to love… pulling the latch trigger and watching the massive lid open unassisted, and then closing with just a tug of your finger.
You’re going to love feeling the heft.. of the 3/8” stainless steel grates.
You’re going to love. The mechanical components that are CNC laser cut from brushed stainless then digitally folded and tig welded.
You’re going to love the performance.. that three different types of insulation give you.
One basket/16lbs of charcoal at 235º will burn for 85 hours.
Not a lotta airflow to dry out your meat there..
oh and most of all…
you're going to love hearing.
The ooh's and ahh's when your friends and family taste the food you’ve cooked!
Yes total Overkill but absolutely necessary…
Because, we build the finest grills possible.. no expense spared.
Because.. we build a grill so user-friendly that using it is actually intuitive.
Because… we make every component from the finest materials available and use the best methods of fabrication.
That’s what you’ll get with our grills. But you also get much more…
The more is something no other company can or will give you. the more is me.
I’ll be there with you every step of the way from choosing the right grill and accessories, getting it delivered to your door and if you’re a first time chef I’ll even walk you through your first cook.
Purchase a Komodo Kamado grill and you'll get a bit of me with every grill shipped..
a grill that you will treasure as a family heirloom,
a grill that will produce great food for a lifetime.
If you have not clicked away by now and are still here . you are probably the person I have in mind when I build these grills.
So… does a Komodo Kamado Grill sound great?
Give us a call…you won’t get a call center. You’ll get me..
Let’s discuss how I can help you get cooking on one of my masterpieces.

“It is Unbelievable. Far and away the best ceramic cooker I’ve used.
Heat control to a single degree. 85 hour burn and it looks like a piece of art.”

"Komodo Kamado is the best cooking, most efficient and aesthetically perfect outdoor cooker on the market.
Ask your children what tile color they prefer… one day the Komodo Kamado will be theirs."

"Pay attention all you Eggheads
Komodo Kamado may be the most striking cookers in the world
with superb craftsmanship and performance with innovative features."

"The Komodo Kamado is a luxury grill, the epitome of over-engineering..
You buy this grill because it is attractive, extremely well built and because you can."

"So if you like having the best, if you like knowing your cooker has been designed to be the best and built with the finest components and materials.
If you want a cooker in your back yard that is also a beautiful work of art, if you want a cooker
that performs at the highest level, then you will want to give the Komodo Kamado serious consideration.
It is simply a stunning cooker. Stunning in its beauty, stunning in its design and stunning in its operation."


Carter’s has recently launched perfectly-sized face masks for kids. The cotton masks fits most kids ages two to 14, and while several of the colors are already sold out, Carter's will release new ones in July. In addition, the company created an illustrated guide for kids that aids parents in explaining the importance of wearing a mask. The “My Hero Mask” helps highlight our essential workers and anyone who wears a mask as an everyday hero, and is available for free with the purchase of any mask.


Strawberry & Cream Croissant French Toast For Your Weekend Brunch

Those with a creative eye know firsthand that inspiration is all around us. Whether you're energized by the earth tones of nature, a color-filled walk through a local farmer's market, or even by a quick scroll through Instagram, you never know what might spark a new creative project.

In the spirit of inspiring your next masterpiece, we're excited to partner with Bounty to fuel the next generation of artists and designers forward by launching a national design competition. We're calling on graphic designers to apply for a chance to see their work featured on a new Brit + Co and Bounty paper towel collection, set to launch in 2022.

Aside from the incredible exposure of having your illustrations on paper towels that'll be in stores across America next year, you'll also receive $5,000 for your art a scholarship for Selfmade, our 10-week entrepreneurship accelerator to take your design career to the next level (valued at $2,000) and a stand alone feature on Brit + Co spotlighting your artistry as a creator.

The Creatively You Design Competition launches Friday, May 21, 2021 and will be accepting submissions through Monday, June 7, 2021.

APPLY NOW

Who Should Apply: Women-identifying graphic designers and illustrators. (Due to medium limitations, we're not currently accepting design submissions from photographers or painters.)

What We're Looking For: Digital print and pattern designs that reflect your design aesthetic. Think optimistic, hopeful, bright — something you'd want to see inside your home.

How To Enter: Apply here, where you'll be asked to submit 2x original design files you own the rights to for consideration. Acceptable file formats include: .PNG, .JPG, .GIF, .SVG, .PSD, and .TIFF. Max file size 5GB. We'll also ask about your design inspiration and your personal info so we can keep in touch.

Artist Selection Process: Panelists from Brit + Co and P&G Bounty's creative teams will judge the submissions and select 50 finalists on June 11, 2021 who will receive a Selfmade scholarship for our summer 2021 session. Then, up to 8 artists will be selected from the finalists and notified on June 18, 2021. The chosen designers will be announced publicly in 2022 ahead of the product launch.

For any outstanding contest Qs, please see our main competition page. Good luck & happy creating!


9 Cool Food Trucks You Never Even Knew Existed

Sure, you've seen plenty of grilled cheese trucks over the years, but did you know there are oyster trucks, champagne trucks, and tots trucks all over as well? Here are just a few of the most innovative food trucks across the country.

For six years now, Cold Stone Creamery has offered a catered ice cream truck service in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. They do a lot of corporate events, weddings, private events, and festivals. Keep that in mind the next time your birthday rolls around if you live in one of those areas. Right now, they even have pre-ordering for the trucks, so they can offer a contactless service. Who knew??

Take your pick of super fresh East and West coast selections&mdashthey do it all here. The seafood and raw bar-focused truck has a brick and mortar original location, but fans love the uniqueness of oysters on wheels.

Listen. This is a "fully renovated vintage canned ham camper trailer that has been converted into a mobile bar serving Prosecco and other wine offerings on tap" that you can call up for your next birthday party. What more do you need to know. (Fun fact: Lance Bass helps run this truck!!)

Another brick and mortar offshoot, this truck serves insane bacon-focused and bacon-themed foods all over the city. Bacon snow cones, anyone??

A Philly fav since 2013, the tiny tot cart frequents colleges and late-night wedding parties. Because (1) they know their audience and (2) who doesn't love cheese-drenched potatoes come midnight?

The D.C. mainstay has an exclusively burrito-filled menu. except for that side of fried mac & cheese bites. You should probably get those too. You know, just to chase the burrito with. Just in case.

Bernie's is, as you might imagine, a burger-forward food truck inside a converted school bus. Pictured here? Their loaded fries, which they take "just as seriously."

Though the truck's titular Biker Jim has opened restaurants since he began his cart business years ago, his gourmet hot dog carts remain perpetually popular. That's probably because you can build your own hot dog from a selection of 15 homemade sausages.

Lest the picture of kids lined up outside of this colorful creation mislead you, no, this isn't any regular old ice cream truck. It's Hawaiian-style shaved ice in the middle of South Dakota. They shave, roll, and flavor ice like you've never seen.


Turk N Stuff food truck brings family recipes to the forefront

COLORADO SPRINGS — The Turk N Stuff food truck, started during October of 2020, has leaped the hurdles of starting a business during the pandemic in order to bring family recipes and specialty turkey legs to the Colorado Springs food truck scene.

According to Joseph Merritt, who co-owns the truck along with his sister and step brother, the entire idea was inspired by his father, an incredible barbecue chef.

"He's been cooking food and serving people ever since I was born, so you know, we always said we were actually going to do that one day, and we did," Merritt commented.

Geared up with a full menu of tasty eats that includes Cajun food and specialty turkey legs, this food truck has made a name for itself over the past six months.

The goal is to share family inspired recipes with as many folks as possible, bringing smiles and full bellies to anyone and everyone.

"That's all we want, when a customer eats our food, they come back and say, hey that's delicious, we want some more of that," finished Merritt.

Looking ahead, the goal for Turk N Stuff is a brick and mortar location sometime down the road.


The 10 Best “Selena + Chef” Recipes

She tried them out so we didn’t have to.

Nothing spoke to the beginning of quarantine quite like home cooking. With ample time on our hands and restaurants around the world temporarily closing their doors, we were—whether or not we wanted to—spending a lot of our time in the kitchen.

New recipes were tested and Instagram saw its fair share of baked goods. Jumping on the trend, HBO Max launched its very own quarantine-cooking show. Locking down singer, actor, general super-star Selena Gomez, the new streaming service launched Selena + Chef, where Gomez sits down—over Zoom—with some of the world’s best chefs. Connecting virtually, the chefs walk the home cook through some of their signature recipes—and those of us at home get to kick back and watch someone else frantically search for a misplaced ingredient. With Selena + Chef providing step-by-step guides to some of the world’s finest dishes, we’re letting you know what to try your hand at (and which ones you can continue to order in).


Hot Dogs and Corn Dogs

Estimated Cost: Hot dogs and Corn dogs for

Fry bread

Estimated Cost: $.50 – $2.50 depending on toppings.

Estimated Retail Price: $3.00 – $8.00 depending on style.

How to make it work: Fried bread in all forms is a high-profit menu item. Fried bread has different variations by region including Native American Fry Bread. Similar variations of the food go by the name elephant ears. This core item can be used to create desserts or meals. Cinnamon and sugar is a popular menu item for desserts while you can make dozens of different fried bread taco to eat as a meal. This is a great add-on to a concession business especially if you already use deep fryers.

.35 – $.50 cents each depending on ingredients.

Estimated Retail Price: $3.00 – $6.00 depending on ingredients.

How to make it work: Hot dogs and corn dogs are a staple menu item across concessions stand in America. They are easy to make, cheap to buy, and enjoyed by guests. What’s not to love? Best of all these products are extremely flexible adding toppings. You can add nacho cheese, grilled onions, chili, and other toppings to differentiate your product. Plant-based hot dogs are also readily available and can be used to market to vegetarian eaters. Getting innovative with dipping sauces is another easy way to stand out in this segment (think chipotle mayo). Learn more about starting a hot dog business here.


Truck Recipes

Here is a list of known recipes for new trucks. Simply open the blender and choose the correct ingredients.

As people share their recipes and they have been verified they will be added to this list.

Thank you all for contributing and correcting mistakes!

Truck 1 - Bread Truck - Given at start of game

Truck 2 - Sausage Truck - Given at start of game

Truck 3 - Hot Dog Truck - Bread Truck and Sausage Truck

Truck 4 - Chilli-Cheese Dog Trk - Hot Dog Truck and Cheese and Chilli

Truck 5 - Cheese Burger Truck - Bread and Cow and Cheese

Truck 6 - Taco Truck - Cheeseburger Truck and Rolling Pin and Hot Sauce

Truck 7 - Gyro Truck - Cheeseburger Truck and Yoghurt and Rolling Pin

Truck 8 - Pizza Truck - Bread and Cheese and Rolling Pin and Marinara Sauce

Truck 9 - Fondue Truck - Bread Truck and Cheese and Alp Horn

Truck 10 - Chilli-Cheese Fries Trk - Chill-Cheese Dog Trk and Potatoes and Fryer

Truck 11 - Fish & Chips Truck - Chilli-Cheese Trk and Big Ben and Fish



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