Tag Archives: food trucks miami

June 2016 Chef of the Month – Brian Mullins

Brian Mullins-in the kitchen

Congratulations Chef Brian Mullins for being our Chef of the Month for June! See what cheesy concoctions he has been making in Miami!

Where were you born?                

I was born in Long Island, New York.

Where do you work and where are you based? 

I live and work in Miami.  I have food trucks and two brick and mortar locations for Ms. Cheezious.  It started as a food truck in 2010 and we opened our first brick and mortar on February 1, 2015 and our second this past April.

What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes? 

My favorite kitchen tool is a good knife.  It can become an expensive habit!

What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?   

Hearing.  In the restaurant industry we need to listen to people and our guests’ feedback.  You can’t be emotional if someone doesn’t care for something.  You need to be able to hear them and make changes.  A lot of people don’t listen to what their customers have to say.

What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?  

Put in the time.  Learn to take every opportunity presented to you when you’re not working.  Ask to volunteer, to work with other chefs and offer to work at any event.  Keep your head, down mouth shut and observe what’s going on around you.  Be humble, pay attention and ask questions.

What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect?    

Proper seasoning in general, but especially salt.  It can change a lot of things so learn how to use it correctly.

What does good food mean to you?    

Good food means family. I grew up in a house where my mother, grandmother and aunts all cooked really well.  My best memories are of big meals made from scratch in the kitchen that took hours or days, depending on what they were cooking.  We all sat down together and ate really good meals. Now, my family and friends in the industry get together to create good meals and share those new memories.

What trends do you see emerging in the near future?  

No one is really doing shakes in Miami, so we brought it back. We launched them a month or so ago. Florida is so hot; everyone wants a cold milkshake.  We did a midnight snack shake – a chocolate shake with chocolate and peanut dipped pretzels, caramel popcorn and chocolate covered potato chips topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. For all the Miami people, we did a Pastelito shake with a guava cream cheese and vanilla base garnished with a fresh Pastelito on top.

What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat? (particular fabric, style, sleeve length, pockets)   

I want it to fit well and look good.  Who doesn’t want to look good?  I am big in the shoulders, so I need to be able to move.  The coat needs to be moveable and breathable.  I wear a lot of chef shirts.  Being in South Florida, it is hot all day, every day and even hotter in the kitchen.

Favorite ingredient to work with?    

Obviously, cheese.  But besides doing grilled cheese, I really love smoking meats and BBQ.  I like making pulled pork and ribs.

Favorite City to dine out in?   

New York. I love every place. There are so many people from so many places around the world that you can get anything. It’s so rich in culture.  If you want Mexican, someone from Mexico will make it or if you want dumplings, someone will make you authentic dumplings.  I can always have one more slice of pizza as a snack in between meals too.  I come home 10 pounds heavier from every trip!

Best Dish you have ever made?     

Probably ribs.  Like I said, I love smoking meats and barbecuing.  You can take a long time to prepare them to impart a lot of flavor, and I create a good sauce.  I can make them ahead of time and heat them up when I have friends over.  I never have a problem having people show up for my barbecue.

Place you eat most often on your days off?      

The Hillstone.  I always know what I am getting.  The food is good and the service is always great.  Since I have so few days off, I want to have a meal served to me properly. I don’t want to leave a restaurant mad on my day off.

Person you would most like to cook for?         

I would like to cook for José Andrés.  He seems like a cool guy to hang out with.  I would love to make Spanish food and tapas with him.  He has always been a super nice guy when I have met him in the past.  Like I said before, my best memories are good meals with family and I think cooking for him would be like that.

What made you decide to become a chef in the first place?       

I started cooking at a very young age.  Growing up, my mom was a single mom.  We would fend for ourselves from an early age.  When I was like 7, I would wake her up while she was sleeping to open jars.  She was always in the kitchen cooking and making breakfast, lunch and dinner for everyone.  After seeing my mom, grandmother and aunts cook, I wanted to emulate what they were doing. I would figure things out and make stuff that tasted good and get everyone sit down to have a good meal.

What is new on your DVR?      

You would have to ask my wife.  When I come home, I sit down and she puts on whatever she wants and I can just sit still finally.  I don’t get much time at work to sit still.

So you want to start a Food Truck…

Food Truck Scene at Plantation Park, Plantation Florida found on blog.chefuniforms.comThe food truck business continues to boom! And with an estimated 3 million trucks currently operating in the U.S. and more being added every month, it shows no indication of slowing down. An accepting public, reality TV shows and an instant gratification mentality have all added to the popularity and maturing of the business. There has been a 197% increase in the number of food trucks nationally from 2001 to 2013 according to Business Insider.

Food trucks, which started out more as a place to run to on the corner for a quick lunch have become much more mainstream. Going to a restaurant can be frustrating at times – waiting for a table, crying babies, waiting for your food and inefficient wait staff who are expecting a 20% tip. Food trucks eliminate a lot of these issues. And then there are those gourmet food trucks that take food to a whole different level. You can find them day and night, alone or in “meet ups” in office parks, empty lots, shopping districts, popular tourist areas, sporting events, festivals, conferences/conventions, parks, beaches, bus/train stations, college campuses and areas that have night life and music but not much in the way of anything more than bar food.

According to Business Insider, the top five cities based on the number of food trucks:

  1. Los Angeles 269
  2. San Francisco 127
  3. Miami 140 (Chefuniforms’ hometown)
  4. Austin 156
  5. Washington D.C. 172

And what are they serving? EVERYTHING! From the basic burgers, hot dogs and pretzels to dishes that cater to the more sophisticated palate like coriander-braised duck, pork belly in numerous ways, bahn mi, French take away including escargot lollipops and frog legs, ice cream sandwiches with flavors like Pistachio Black Truffle and Red Wine Reduction. There’s Cajun, B-B-Q, Korean, Japanese-Mexican fusion, Hawaiian and even a truck in Washington D.C. that serves Indian food in a carnival atmosphere from the fictional location of Merlindia.

If you’re thinking about starting a food truck business, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that it is a business – your business. Here are some things to take into consideration:

Starting a Food Truck Business found on blog.chefuniforms.com

  • Like any new business, you will need a business plan – so do your homework in advance. Research the demographics and cost of doing business in your area
  • You will need to do all the research for permits, licenses, certifications and insurance needed in order to operate. They vary from state to state, county to county and city to city. And they are constantly changing and can be very confusing. Check here for an example.
  • Check out the competition. How many trucks are operating in your area? Is your product unique? Can you price your menu competitively?
  • Research locations in your area. Check with promoters, farmers markets etc. Some have long waiting lists or give exclusive parking to only one truck with a certain type of food
  • Do some soul searching – will you be able handle the disappointment and stress of the unexpected: truck breaks down, you sell out too soon, you prepared too much, torrential rain on the day of a huge festival and the list goes on
  • How are your time management skills? The food truck business is not just about your passion for food and cooking ability. There is networking, finding reliable suppliers and ordering, marketing – especially in social media, employee schedules/issues to handle. Can you commit to hands-on ownership, long days, working 6-7 days a week and giving up vacations?
  • The industry relies a lot on cooperation – with other food truck owners, local businesses and suppliers – so you want to earn the respect of these people

 The Social Side of A Food Truck Business found on blog.chefuniforms.com

We love food trucks here at Chefuniforms.com!

If you own a food truck, what do you wish you had known before starting out?

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