Liam Brady’s career has come full circle after leaving the food industry more than 10 years ago. Brady originally completed his apprenticeship as a chef in Sydney before ditching the long hours, weekend and night work, and low wages for greener pastures in sales and marketing.
“I worked in some good restaurants in Sydney when I was doing my apprenticeship, but I just hated it. I think I was too young. You should be more mature when you become a chef,” he said.
“I was 20 years old when I finished my trade and all my mates were running around chasing the parties and sheilas and I was doing split shifts and earning bugger all. So I finished my trade and got out.”
But when he was made redundant from his sales management role midlast year, Brady found his way back to his first love, taking up a job as a grill chef at the Centenary Hotel as a way to “pay for a bit of boat fuel”.
“I’ve always loved food, always loved cooking, and I was just unhappy with any
W O R D S : P H O T O S : sales role or manager role I came across. It just didn’t suit me anymore. I was sick of being in the corporate cog,” he said.
Since reigniting his passion for food, Brady made the bold move to start his own food truck business — 2 Gringos Cuban Street Food. Weekdays he’s parked outside Re-Car truck repairs on Ingham Road, serving what he describes as ‘upper class tradie meals’ including his famous Cuban sandwich and other homemade dishes. He also attends markets and special events like Pop Up Food Trucks Townsville where his full selection of Cuban street food is on offer.
“One of the dishes is the ropa vieja which is a tomato-based casserole with capers, olives, and lots of capsicum. It’s Cuba’s national dish. The pork is cooked for about 18 hours in a mojo recipe that we’ve perfected,” he said.
“I love working with pork, and I’ve always loved working with pork. I’ve got a wood-fired spit at home that I’d cook a boneless leg of pork for eight hours on a Saturday. Family and friends know that if you’re coming for dinner at our place you’re getting overfed with really good food.”
Brady says that although he’s glad to be out of the corporate world and working with food again, getting the business off the ground has meant a lot of hard work and some very long days. But there have been some up sides to having experience in both worlds.
“The 10 years in sales has really assisted me in just knowing the product and that kind of thing. I’m not the best chef in the world, but having been in management, sales, and marketing before starting this, I think that’s why it’s gone so well,” he said.
“I didn’t expect it to be as hard as it turned out being. I thought it’d just be cruisy because I could be my own boss and so on, but (last) Friday [at the Pop Up Food Trucks Festival] I did 18 hours straight. But for me it’s more about the love of food now.”