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The Food Truck Scholar

Author: Ariel D. Smith

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The Food Truck Scholar Podcast is where food, business, and stories collide. Each episode host and academic scholar Ariel D. Smith peels back the cultural, social, economic, and political layers of the food truck industry. From Food Network contestants and former bank executives to self-trained and formally trained chefs- The Food Truck Scholar Podcast introduces you to entrepreneurs from all walks life that are ready to feed your mind with tips to start your own food truck, stories that fill your heart, and tempting meal options to fill your stomach.
83 Episodes
As a food truck owner and entrepreneur, scams are everywhere- In person and digital. On Monday, I hosted a free webinar on protecting yourself again in person scams like counterfeit money and quick change schemes through programming led by Regions Bank. It was during that webinar food truck owner Narissa Saint Fleur shared her experience and questions around cyber hacks that led to me doing my own research on the topic and phone call with Narissa earlier today that I’m sharing unedited tonight. Narissa is the owner of Impact Island Cafe in Ocala, FL and today she shares her experience with credit card hackers and realizing that her point of sales system didn’t provide as much support in the situation as she would have expectedThank you EatOkra for being our season 3 sponsor!
The words “vegan,” “plant based” and “dairy free” have become buzz words in the food industry, but they often come with misconceptions about what they are and are not. And furthermore, while many of you have become cognizant of serving your vegan customers, you may be leaving out some great customers- those who are gluten-free. Lucky for you, there’s a doctor in the house that knows all about it and is here to explain it all to you.For Dr. Devin Miles, encouraging food trucks to be mindful of the ingredients in their meals they prepare for customers is not just professional but personal. As a person who has been gluten-free for 14 years, she shares the health and liability risks food trucks might pose if they do not understand how to care for gluten free customers as well as some great ideas for those looking to cater to the strong demand in the market Thank you EatOkra for being our season 3 sponsors!
Today’s guest has been part of The Food Truck Scholar fam for a while, but we finally got the chance to connect, and hopefully soon I can try some of his wings with orange soda sauce!Romeo Calloway is the owner of Pop Ups Mobile Kitchen in Bear, Delaware and has been steadily growing his brand through pop ups and catering as he works his way to a food truck.In this episode, Romeo shares his experience about navigating the hospitality in the wake of COVID 19 as well as steps and resources he utilizing to make his food truck dreams a realitySpecial thank you to EatOkra for being our Season 3 Partners!
Less than 10 episodes remain in season 3– can you believe it?!We’ve had some amazing guests on the show this season and still have a few more stories to bring your way, but today, I felt it was important to update you on some exciting news that’s happening internally that will be great resources for you! Including our collaboration with Regions bank to host a free webinar on Monday October 18thThank you EatOkra for being our Season 3 Sponsor Partners!To signup for the webinar and join our community, visit
The food truck industry is full of many challenges and losses that aren’t always talked about. But even more important are the ways many are able to rebuild from the ashes. Today’s guest has literally done just that. Asia Iqui is the owner of Iqui’s Chicken and Tacos in Indianapolis, Indiana. Last year, I reached out after her food trailer caught on fire to learn what happened and next steps. With the support of family and community, Asia is back rolling again with a new truck going harder than ever. With her permission, we share with you our conversation just weeks after the fire so you can hear that in spite of the pain, Asia’s determination to remain #DaTacoLadi in Nap TownThank you EatOkra for being our Season 3 Sponsors!If you would like to be a sponsor for Season 4 or a future episode, visit
Todays guest is a Canadian food historian and academic researcher that is out here living one of my dreams, collecting stories about food in a food truck!Dr. Janis Thiessen is a History Professor at the University of Winnipeg and a principal investigator for the Manitoba Food History Project.Today we talk about the importance of oral history and making research interactive and engaging with people at all levels within and beyond the academy
Happy Labor Day!Now some people may like smash burgers that are all nice and thin, but for me, there’s only one way to make a burger- Thicc. Luckily, Jay Wolfe agrees with me and created Thicc Burger, a roaming burger joint that gives each customer a taste of home and a burst of flavor.Jay has traveled the country showcasing their Thicc Burgers at popups and is now ready to roam the streets in a food trailer they are raising funds for. Today, Jay shares how they learned to get out their own way to pursue the dream they’ve always had- living a life making and eating burgersDonate to Jay's Food Trailer HEREThank you to our season 3 sponsors EatOkra! Download their app HERE!Want to be a sponsor for an episode or Season 4? Contact Us HERE!
Many times when we talk about the food truck journey we focus on going from Truck or trailer to brick and mortar. But what about those who started out as home chefs and caterers who could potentially have a food truck coming to a city near you? Today’s guest is someone I’m extremely proud of because he’s a former student and colleague that is making a difference in the food scene and honestly everywhere he goes. Nadim Sammur, founder of Chef Smoove started his journey as a college student and is now a caterer, food truck employee and cookbook author. Today he shares his journey, how his engineering major and African American Studies minor shapes how he approaches business and much more.Get 10% off Nadim's cookbook for being part of the #TFTSFam by clicking HERE!Special Thanks to EatOkra for being our Season 3 Sponsors.Become a sponsor for an episode or a season by visiting
The Food Truck Scholar Podcast doesn’t just introduce you to your foodie cousins across the country but your family around the world. From Switzerland to Canada to Australia, the Philippines and everywhere in between folks from all over have been tuning in and sharing their stories this season with  more to come. Today’s guest is currently based in the UK but hasn’t forgotten his Brooklyn roots. John Lashley and his son Leo are the proud owners of the Brooklyn Brownie Co in North Hampton, UK and who have taken a moment of pain and produced something powerful and positive that the community is rallying behind. I sat down with John to learn the story behind the decadent treats he creates with his son and also learn some other talents he had rolled up his sleeve. And trust me, you wouldn’t be able to guess what else this guy does!Thank you to EatOkra for being our season three partners. Apply to be a sponsor partner today at
I’m in the 205 at the urgent request of my baby brother and bonding time with my sister so it’s only right we rewind and bring back one of my favorite Birmingham food trucks that aren’t just poppin and making a name for themselves, but are poppin with a purpose. Tanesha Sims Summers is the founder and CEO of Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn company. With Tanesha and her husband Clem, you can count on freshly popped gourmet popcorn that’s A+ and doesn’t make you feel too bad about indulging yourself. When this first aired, I soon went Birmingham to get some French toast popcorn and I won’t lie, I’ll be looking for them to buy some more this week!Thank you EatOkra for being our season 3 Partner! If you would like to sponsor an episode or season to get the word out about your food truck product/service/brand, visit our website to apply.
For many of us, access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and food products are something we take for granted. For many in the United States, neighborhoods that have no grocery store in walking distance, access to mostly processed foods and poor quality fruits and vegetables is the norm. Prosperity Market is out to change that. Stating with Los Angeles and then the Nation, founders Carmen and Kara have a vision for what a society could look like where food access is for everyone. For all my listeners who have wanted to start a mobile farmer’s market this episode is for you! Also listen for details about their scavenger hunt aimed yo help them raise funds for their trailer.Thank you EatOkra for being our season 3 Partner! If you would like to sponsor an episode or season to get the word out about your food truck product/service/brand, visit our website to apply.
+1 (205) 478-5374:Today all roads lead back home to the 205. Aye this one has been a long time coming. I had this food truck back in 2016, went to their first brick and mortar a couple of years later and late last year, I sat down with the owner right before they opened their second location. I’m talking about none of than Zebbie Carney, owner of Eugenes Hot Chicken.Zebbie has been making moves since day one in the food truck and restaurant industry but it didn’t come without hard work. From only making less than 2 grand in the first year to half a million the second year, Zebbie’s story can be described as a story of grit, grace, and constant grindAriel Smith:I know you may be wondering, does Ariel really plan to go to every truck she mentions on the show? And the answer is yes I do and you can join me! Subscribe to the food truck scholar YouTube channel to check out my latest adventures in Portland to visit Nikeisah Newton of Meals 4 Heels, exclusive interviews not on the podcast and much more! Thank you to EatOkra for being our season 3 partners!
Now I have had a few guests on the show that go way back with me in terms of The Food Truck Scholar, but this guest even goes beyond that for me. Justus McGee is the owner of SoulFresh Springrolls in Durham, NC and earlier this year we sat down to talk about our journeys together, his transition from the classroom to the curbside, and the impact of Covid on his business. Soon after Justus closed his food truck due in large part to the Covid 19 pandemic, but nonetheless, his story is one to be shared and his friendship is one I cherish Thank you to EatOkra for being our Season 3 Sponsors! The go-to app for finding Black-owned food trucks and restaurants
Now y’all know if there’s one thing about me, I’m going to find a food truck and all it’s cousins: food truck trailers, food carts, food buses, food 18 wheeler trucks, food pods, you name it! Well today, I’m bringing to you a guest I met last year that introduced me to a new possibility for the first time on the show: a food boat. Mark McGuire built his own food boat and became a trailblazer in North Carolina and is part of the first way of folks tapping into this sector is mobile food. Making up approximately less than 1% of the mobile food vending population, food boaters are here and I believe they will only grow over time. Today we listen to Marc’s journey and his plans of helping others get on the waterThank you to EatOkra for Season 3 partners! If you would like to be a partner for the show, email
Today, I’m sitting solo at the mic- actually I’m in my car since I’m working out of state, to host a family meeting this episode so I can update the whole TFTSFam on some of the updates and changes coming to not only grow the brand but sustain itAs always, thank you to EatOkra for being our season 3 sponsors!
Often on this show I talk about the importance of pursuing what you love and my conversation with today’s guest couldn’t capture that more. Farnesther Lafaitey aka Chef Fly is the proud owner of Grits and Things in Atlanta, GA who is known for her signature brunch specialsToday Chef Fly shares with us how she left a career path that was not fulfilling for her to pursue a passion that now is filling the hearts and stomachs of all who meet her and her truck.Thank you to EatOkra for being our Season 3 Partners!
Today's guest is an educator at heart that has definitely made his way through kitchens in many different forms. Chef Steven McIntyre is a culinary instructor based in Birmingham, AL. To some of you, his voice will sound familiar because Chef McIntyre was first introduced to the fam last year during our Black Food Entrepreneurship Webinar SeriesThis week, we learn about his entry into the industry, benefits of culinary school, his experience working on a food truck at the time of the interview, and all the career options that are available to you in the culinary arts beyond being a chef or line cook
Today’s guest is no stranger to the food truck scholar community. From being a guest on season 1 to a moderator and regular attendee of the all things food trucks club on Clubhouse, Food Network champion Chef Darrell Johnson has been open to sharing his story and his life lessons with the community. Earlier this year we sat down to talk about life after winning season 10 of the Great Food Truck Race and how he’s taking 2021 by stormThank you to EatOkra for being our season three partners and to Roaming Hunger for partnering for this episode. You can download EatOkra's app to help you find Black owned food trucks and restaurants AND sign up for Roaming Hunger's National Food Truck Day by clicking HERE!
Next week, June 25th is national food truck day but you know we gotta celebrate all week long right?! The Food Truck Scholar is proud to partner with Roaming Hunger and several other national partners in the food truck community and press all over the nation to celebrate YOU. That’s right, we want to celebrate each and every one of you for making the industry we all love so special. Whether you’re open for one day or the whole week next week, we want you to sign up today and we help bring more customers and press your way. Did I mention it’s free to participate? Simply click the link our link here to sign up!As we get ready for Father’s Day, I thought about so many fathers I’ve had on the show that entered into the food truck industry whether solely or in part because they wanted to be closer to their family and have made it part of the family legacy. Well today’s guest is not only doing that, but he’s also the prime case study of what it means to have a growth mindset that is critical to be in the food truck industry. And not only that, he’s been a big brother to me since we connected a year ago.Ya Ron Brown is the Owner of Southern Roots BBQ in the ATL area, and he’s poured everything he has into his dream And shares it’ll take nothing less for you to accomplish yours.Thank you to our season three partners EatOkra- the go to app for finding Black owned food trucks and restaurants.
People often ask if I have been to every truck from the podcast, and my response is always “not yet.” While work and school are demanding by themselves, I make it a goal to visit as many as I can, no matter how far down the line it is And that’s why I’m excited to share an episode I originally released two years ago in season 1 with Nikeisah Newton, owner of Meals for Heels in Portland, OR. Nikeisah gained national attention for being Portland’s first late night delivery service supporting the sex work and sex positive industries, but she’s done so much more as well! Her activism with Black and Brown communities, the LGBTQ community, Black and Brown farmers, local artists and those at the intersections of those communities show that meals for heels it’s not just in the community-it’s for the community. This week, following the third anniversary of The Food Truck Scholar, I’m flying to Portland to finally meet Nikeisah in person, try her food and celebrate the one month anniversary of her new walk up restaurant. As you can tell by the audio, we’ve both come a long way and a followup interview is long overdue Thank you to our Season 3 Partners EatOkra- the go to app for finding Black owned food trucks and restaurants!
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I Love It .. Thank You So Much And Keep Going From Drop it like its Hot Wings & The Edgehill Bike Club

Jan 5th
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