LUCA MANFE & THE LUCKY FIG
Season 4 Master Chef winner Luca Manfe owned and operated The Lucky Fig Food Truck.
If you go to Lucamanfe.com, in his introduction Luca Manfe explains, “I am an Italian who left his home country just out of his twenties and came to The States to follow the American Dream.” He is a dreamer who loves food! Not all dreams go the way we would wish. Luca moved from Aviano in Northern Italy to New York where he worked as a manager in a handful of restaurants. Working along chefs, he was very comfortable in the kitchen and perfected a style of cooking that was all his own. After winning Master Chef, cookbook author and TV personality Luca Manfe opened The Lucky Fig, a farm to table food truck.
Luca says he is a self-taught chef that learned by watching videos, following recipes and experimenting. He makes his own pastas, his own ciabatta bread for sandwiches, his own fresh ricotta from local milk and his own mayonnaise from local, organic cage free eggs. His food is fresh, safe and delicious. The way food was meant to be. What Luca offered was truly incredible, fresh Italian cuisine out of a 1954 Ford P500, an old USPS delivery truck that was renovated to house a modern kitchen. He also uses only eco-friendly packing for his food and drinks. His dream was to own a truck that served incredible tasting, organic food in green packaging.
He says he designs his menu based on the freshest ingredients and relying on local farmers. He only uses local meats that are grass fed and pastured. His pork is non-GMO. He buys only organic cheeses, dairy and produce from nearby farms. Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In fact, 38 countries have outright banned them, while many other countries including Italy enforce labeling.
Luca had mechanical issues on his truck. It broke down on him several times. He had to replace the engine. He had equipment failures. Luca also saw what unpredictable weather does for a food truck. Rain, very hot weather and cold weather keep prospective clients from going out to eat at food trucks. In addition, with all the effort and work that went into sourcing fresh, quality ingredients and making some of the city’s finest Italian food, he says some people just wanted a hamburger. After just a few months at Deacon Baldys, Luca decided to shut down his truck and focus on private caterings. The city of Houston mourned the closing.
In March, Luca partnered with Lance and Brett Martin to create delivery Italiano, a new food subscription box service that delivers authentic, made-in-Italy pantry staples to your door each month. The cool thing is that these are all non-perishable products so you can order at any time and don’t have to worry about cooking it right away. You can’t find these foods in your local grocery store: these are all unique artisanal “Made in Italy” products from small family run companies. Every month you’ll get recipe and cultural cards with all his recipes and description of products. Check him out online and help support Deliveryitaliano.com. Learn from a Masterchef how to cook great Italian at home!