Reporting Sara Pelissero
With so many new — and delicious — food trucks hitting the streets of the Twin Cities each summer, it’s almost too tough to keep up. Well, fear not, we’re here to help. Here’s this week’s food truck feature!
How does an aircraft mechanic for the military end up owning and operating a food truck? It’s simple — two loves, that of a woman and that of New Orleans Cajun cooking.
Tim Glover, owner of Cajun 2 Geaux food truck, said he knew it was time for a career change when, after a year of being away working on Blackhawks in Kentucky, his wife asked him what else he could do for a living.
Luckily, Glover, who’s originally from the deep south, also has an incredibly skilled hand in the kitchen — one that can perfectly season a warm, comforting bowl of Jambalaya or fry up a delicious po’boy sandwich.
Cajun is in Glover’s blood — and New Orleans is certainly in his heart. Thankfully for us, that heart is a generous one — big enough to welcome every Minnesotan to a taste of the south.
Here’s more on Cajun 2 Geaux Food Truck.
Owners: Tim Glover
Date the food truck opened: Aug. 15, 2012.
What kind of food do you serve? This is New Orleans cuisine. Some of the old-style tradition Cajun flair but a lot of it is gourmet New Orleans cuisine, right out of the French Quarter.
Price range of menu: From about $5.50-$14 — $14 has got to be pretty hot and special.
Hours of operation: For me, it’s from sun up to sun down. But for the truck it’s usually 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. or 2 p.m. on the street. In the breweries, that’s a different story. (Check Twitter or Facebook or the calendar.)
What was your job before opening the food truck? Well, I was a soldier in the Army National Guard. I got back from Iraq and got back into this. But for a good portion of my life, I was an aircraft mechanic.
Where did the food come into play? Well, Louisiana, of course. It’s only natural. And a love for it. Before I went into the military for 20 years, I worked in the food industry in Louisiana. I loved it, you know. But you know, comparing the salary of a food service worker to that of an aircraft mechanic … you know. So I went through that time period and go to the age that I’m at now. My wife and I were talking — aircraft mechanic work was taking me all over the country. I was at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, working on Blackhawks and she goes, “What else do you do?” (Laughs) I had been out there a year without her and the family. So I said, I loved doing food. So the National Guard took care of my education. I went to culinary school and the rest of it’s history after that.
We did take this family RV and convert it into a food truck. So I took my aircraft mechanic skills and then did all the installations, all the wiring and the plumbing and everything else.
So the RV was used for camping before? Well, a little bit. I think we’re getting more use out of it now.
What made you want to open a food truck, instead of a restaurant? Well, we knew it could segue into a restaurant and that’s what we’re looking at right now. It was a good way to experiment with the city and see if they were up for the cuisine, so to speak. There’s a lot of flavors and a lot of spices that go on with Cajun food. And shoot, these people are ready. (Laughs) It’s great. And they’re willing to try anything — I love it. I mean, I can’t keep oysters on this truck and that’s something that I just started out with about a month ago. And it’s continuous trying to get them supplied and they’re just flying out the window.
How is your food prepared? When you come to our truck, it’s not, you know, wrapped and there you are. A lot of it is, you have to make it right here, it’s made to order, so you get it fresh. That’s something that I’m continuously hounding and specific about — it has to be fresh. But a lot of it, the prep work has to be done at my commercial kitchen, Kindred Kitchen off of Broadway. Such cumbersome dishes like Jambalaya, where it takes five different vegetables, a lot of sauteing and two different proteins going in, that you can’t really do it here and you wouldn’t want to even try it. The crawfish étouffée is the same way. (Sidenote: Glover ships the bread for his po’boy sandwiches from New Orleans so you know it’s good.)
How did you come up with the name? It was something that I thought of on my own. Of course, the “2 Geaux” is you take it and you go. The “Geaux” is used a lot in sporting events and stuff like that in Louisiana — like the LSU Tigers, “Geaux Tigers.” So I just thought, ‘Wow, instead of going g-o, why don’t I just do that?’
And the neon green, where did that inspiration come from? Well, I was still working at Delta Airlines so we were able to fly around and check out different areas. We went to Washington state and I knew they had a lot of trucks and the one thing I noticed, even in the city of Minneapolis when the wife and I were driving around — she’s been my partner, my buddy all the way through this. We spin everything off of each other and she’s been a champ … (gets emotional) Gotta stop. (Laughs) Anyway, the one thing we noticed was, OK, if we’re standing here to the next block over and I see a white truck, that could be Fed-Ex or whatever. It has to be something that’s going to grab the attention. At first I was thinking red, or yellow and this color (the green) was actually cheaper than the other two, believe it or not.
What’s your best dish that you serve? Oh, that is tough. The dish itself, I think now, is crawfish étouffée. But Jambalaya has been so good to me and so loyal and that’s what has made me most of my money. But I’ve just now broken out with this new dish (crawfish). Will it be the dish of the season next year, I don’t know, it may be something different. And I like to try and keep changing things up. So the answer would be crawfish étouffée, but again, that Jambalaya, I mean the flavors are just totally stupid.
Describe your truck in one word: Quality.
What’s your craziest story from working at a food truck? Oh my. Oh — yeah, but I can’t tell you that one. (Laughs) I guess trying to squeeze in and out of these parking spots and you know, that’s kind of crazy. I’m not into it so much — I like to be off, kind of like, by myself. I mean, within reason. I just don’t like to be so crunched in. I don’t need any more bumps and bruises. (Points to a few scratches on the truck.)
What’s one thing you want people to know about your food truck? The number one thing would be that it’s a New Orleans experience. When you step in front of that window, when you take it home with you or to lunch or to your cubicle or whatever, that is the one thing that people should know. That’s New Orleans. It is a New Orleans experience. That’s what you’re getting.
Catch the Food Truck Feature every week, in the Curiocity column. Know of a food truck you think should be featured? Let us know by leaving a comment below or tweeting your suggestion to @SaraPelissero!