A Tale of Two Trucks: Part One

„ Stand and Stuff Your Face

The Victoria Standard - - Food / Lifestyle - ANDREW BROOKS

A new eatery has pulled into town. Though a warn­ing to would-be restau­rant go­ers: it’s aw­fully hard to get a seat. That’s be­cause af­ter a win­ter of hon­ing their menu items in­doors at the Bad­deck Le­gion, Tim Lock­hart and Rhonda Boivin are about to de­but the new per­ma­nent digs for their com­pany Stand and Stuff Your Face - a 14’ foot food truck trailer.

The food truck phe­nom­e­non has been grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity across the con­ti­nent but their truck is one of only two in the area.

“It’s ex­plod­ing in Ot­tawa. There’s tonnes in Cal­gary and Van­cou­ver. It just hasn’t re­ally reached out here yet. We’re lucky that we’re amongst the first in the area,” says Rhonda Boivin, one half of the en­ter­pris­ing duo.

Boivin cooked at Bell Bay be­fore start­ing the com­pany, while Lock­hart most re­cently worked at Shan­nex in Syd­ney.

Orig­i­nally from St. John, New Brunswick, Lock­hart has been a chef for nearly thirty years. Much of that time was spent with com­pa­nies out West (where he met and fell in love with Boivin) un­til a gig as head chef at the In­ver­ary Re­sort brought him to Bad­deck five years ago.

Lock­hart says af­ter cook­ing in other peo­ple’s es­tab­lish­ments for so long, he lost in­ter­est in be­ing in the kitchen. Both he and Rhonda ex­pected her to be the lead chef for their start-up, but now that things are up and run­ning, Tim is iron­i­cally do­ing much of the cook­ing.

“It’s the first time in thirty years I’m re­ally hav­ing fun in the kitchen. And that’s what it is all about. You get up in the morn­ing and you’re ex­cited to go to work. I’m hap­pier now than I’ve ever been,” says Lock­hart be­fore an af­ter­noon shift at the Bad­deck Le­gion Branch 53.

Their sig­na­ture item is the grilled cheese cheesy burger – that’s right, a grilled cheese stuffed with a burger.

Lock­hart says there are usu­ally eight items on of­fer but the menu changes weekly. He says it’s eas­ier to change up the menu with a food truck be­cause they keep their in­ven­tory low.

“If you sell out of an item, you sell out of an item. You don’t have to rush around and get it. That’s why we have eight dif­fer­ent items on our menu. It gives us a lot of flex­i­bil­ity and room for cre­ativ­ity.”

Not ev­ery­thing rolled along smoothly in their first year. With their de­ci­sion to go the food truck route, Lock­hart hired a com­pany in On­tario to con­vert a truck in their fleet to the cou­ple’s specs for prep­ping and cook­ing meals. Lock­hart and Boivin put a hard-earned $10,000 down on the truck, which was due to ar­rive last Au­gust 13th.

“The whole two months when we asked how it was go­ing, there was al­ways ex­cuses like ‘it’s too hot to­day to work’ or ‘I just gave my work­ers three days off ’,” ex­plains Boivin.

De­spite con­stant as­sur­ances, Lock­hart finally de­cided to run the VIN num­ber that the com­pany owner had given them. It turns out the num­ber didn’t even closely match the ve­hi­cle they had or­dered.

At that point, the cou­ple can­celled the or­der a week be­fore the sched­uled de­liv­ery date. Un­for­tu­nately, a fine print clause in their con­tract said that if the con­tract was can­celled, their down pay­ment would be for­feited.

Out ten thou­sand dol­lars and down on their luck, Tim’s mother con­vinced them to pur­sue their dream a sec­ond time.

“Not a month af­ter we opened our busi­ness, my mother died un­ex­pect­edly,” says Lock­hart. Then with a tired chuckle he adds, “it’s been a long year I tell you.”

With no truck to make a go of it, the cou­ple were ap­proached by the Bad­deck Le­gion to see if they would cook food for their Satur­day Chase the Ace event. The food proved so pop­u­lar, they ex­panded their open­ings to Fri­day, then Thursday, un­til they were open six days a week.

In an area that tra­di­tion­ally caters to tourists, Lock­hart and Boivin care­fully point out that they are here to pro­vide food year-round.

“Our menu re­flects how we ap­pre­ci­ate the lo­cals be­cause our price is a price point they can en­joy. No matter who you are, lo­cals are your bread and but­ter. Tourists are here for five months of the year, lo­cals are here for twelve.”

At the same time, Lock­hart be­lieves their price point will be at­trac­tive to tourists who are look­ing for an af­ford­able meal while vis­it­ing town.

This sum­mer, the cou­ple will be parked seven days a week in the Le­gion park­ing lot ex­cept for a few pre­vi­ously booked events. Dur­ing the Cabot Trail Re­lay Race, Tim will take the shiny new trailer to the base of Cape Smokey ski re­sort while Rhonda stays back in Bad­deck and cooks for Chase the Ace. Part two of this se­ries will ap­pear in the next is­sue of the Stan­dard.

Photo by Andrew Brooks / The Vic­to­ria Stan­dard

Tim Lock­hart (left), and Rhonda Boivin (right) are mar­ried in life and in busi­ness. The two de­cided to go out on their own and start Stand and Stuff Yer Face af­ter years of cook­ing for oth­ers in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try.

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