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The Food Truck Scholar

Author: Ariel The Food Truck Scholar

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The Food Truck Scholar Podcast is a weekly discussion about all things in the food truck industry. Join your host, Ariel D. Smith M.Ed, a PhD student studying the food truck movement in the United States as she discusses food truck civic engagement and activism, ordinances and restrictions, as well as cultural and economic implications of the food truck industry with food truck owners, public policy officials and academic scholars.
33 Episodes
I may be loosing my voice but that isn’t gonna stop me from bringing another great show to your eardrums. This episode will have a familiar voice as well as a new one. Earlier in the season I talked to Carl Johnson, co-owner of Soul Truckin’ Good in the Atlanta area. During playback, I realized the audio wasn’t exactly where I wanted it and I asked him for a do-over and he kindly obliged. And guess what y’all? It turned out for the better because I got to talk to his wife Jay and hear her side of how it all got started and what running a food truck as a married couple is like. I also want you to listen to the part where I get mad at Carl for holding out on your girl with the menu!
Chef Rae: Beyond The Fork

Chef Rae: Beyond The Fork


oday we going back to The Ville, the 615. That’s right; Nashville is back in the building courtesy of Chef Rae. Chef Rae is the owner of several projects, including Beyond The Fork Food Truck. Today I learn from Chef Rae a few (remember I said that) of the projects she is working on and the importance of being a constant student and hustler as an entrepreneur despite great obstacles. I’m sure her story is going to motivate some of you to get on your grind, but for now sit back and relax the show starts now
Today’s guest is Nikeisah Newton, owner for Meals For Six Inch Heels in Portland Oregon. Recently, Nikeisah has been gaining attention for not only her healthy and delectable meals, but her activism and volunteer work in the community to support those in sex work industry, Black Lives Matter, the trans community, local farmers and many others. Today, we talk about how it all got started and how she has balanced being on her grind as a chef within the eye of the media.
Today’s guest is renaissance woman Kemi Bennings, owner of Food For Thought Cafe in Atlanta. This summer, I stopped by her pop up to try one of her carrot dogs. Now at first I was skeptical but in the end she had me wishing I got the recipe! Kemi is a powerhouse in her own right. A creative badass in her own words. Today she shares with me the twists and turns her life took to get her to cooking for legends such as Cicely Tyson and the late Dr. Maya Angelou and all the amazing work she has in the mix right now
We can all agree that this summer has been all types of hot and September is proving to be no different. Luckily Paula O’Reilly has some cool treats for us all. Paula is the owner of Oh So Gelato in Charleston, SC and serving creamy chilly goodness in the flavors you expect and ones you wouldn’t. And what’s great is she has amazing flavors for the vegan, gluten free, nut free, and dairy free pallet.But that’s not all. When isn’t whipping up new concoctions for the cart, she’s bridging connections between the top rated food trucks in Charleston and wedding planners, event organizers, higher education institutions and more. Paula is also the founder of the Wonder Trucks Collective. Today we talk about how she worked to make her husband’s dream a reality, her creativity in the kitchen, building her collective and great lessons she learned along the way
Today’s guest has been honored throughout New Orleans for serving dishes and education. In fact, Ms Beasley says she serves not food but medicine. Ms Dianna Beasley is the owner of Ms Beasley’s Catering and was gifted with a food truck from Ellen Degeneres a few years ago to continue the work she does in making sure her community does not just have access to healthy meals but the knowledge to prepare them for themselves. Today we are talking about the current plant based trend and the importance of taking charge of your personal health and wellness
Bonus episode! Now usually I don’t hit ya twice in a week, but breaking news sometimes requires breaking rules. 205 is in the building today and we’re celebrating the addition of another truck to the 205 family. Charles and Shirley Wilson are the owners of Smoke on Wheels Grille in Trussville, AL and are making their debut with a soft opening THIS SATURDAY with a block party in their neighborhood you don’t want to miss! Today I chat with Shirley and her Daughter Whitney to learn how the food truck came about, some mouth watering menu items (somebody save me a slice of pound cake), and how this truck has quickly become a family business with all hands on deck. Make sure you finish the whole episode to catch a special offer from yours truly by being a lucky customer this weekend. Trust me, you want all this smoke.
14 years and 4 days from today. New Orleans and it’s people were changed forever when hurricane Katrina hit on August 29, 2005. While the raging waves took much: lives, homes, memories etched in photos, and so much more, the waters could never wash away the spirit of determination, love, art, and soul that those displaced and who could return carry with them every day. It is that spirit that is evident in every dish prepared by NOLA Creations, the Season 10 winners of the Great Food Truck Race on Food Network and the first Black team to snag the title. Today, I have the privilege to chat with Chef Darrell Johnson to learn how everything in his background, from cooking with his great grandmother to washing dishes to Katrina brought him and his wife Aunna all the way to top. We also take about the community and family they found with other contestants on the show and some amazing projects they already have in store.
You know, if you’re like me, I need a little extra pick-me-up on Mondays to help me get started. This week, all I had to do was turn on Spotify and listen to the latest Missy and Rapsody and then head to the kitchen and pull out some peach stuffed beignets from the freezer made possible by none of than The Beignet Bar. Last week as I made my way back to Indiana after a trip home to Birmingham, I picked up some of my favorite treats in Nashville from one of Nashville’s newest food trucks to hit the streets. Owned by Natasha Johnson, The Beignet Bar brings you classic New Orleans vibes and Tennessee comfort flavors all wrapped up in a treat that’s absolutely unforgettable. Her truck makes it grand debut this Thursday August 29. Today, we discuss how she went from kitchen to concept to growing business in under a year. And get this, Natasha has done while being an exceptional doctoral student so we also chat about how we are able to me doctoral students that are also businesswomen. If you’re a budding entrepreneur or student wanting to create your own business, you don’t want to miss this episode
Well it’s the first day of the fall semester for me, but just because the summer has officially ended doesn’t mean the food truck fun has to! We are exactly 2 months away from Trucklandia Food Truck Fest in Austin, TX. Last year, I visited Texas for the first time as a Taste judge for Trucklandia and had a great time!Today, I’m chatting with the founder Case Erickson, who not only gives me the deets on this year’s fest but also some incredible tips on the industry such as employee retention. We also discuss the philanthropic side of Trucklandia through its partnership with Keep Austin Fed. Check out this episode and learn how you can help provide meals for thousands of people just by joining in on the fun Oct 19
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