Funnel Cake Dream is a pretty appropriate description of Paul Juchniewicz’s new food truck: After a lifetime of growing up eating funnel cakes, the trucking company owner is hoping finally to make a livelihood out of his favourite carnival snack.
“I’ve loved ‘em since I was a kid. I don’t even have to advertise – Canada’s Wonderland does that for me,” the affable Mississauga native wisecracks out the window of his cloud-patterned truck.
Technically, the two-month-old truck is Juchniewicz’s second run at the business; he’d previously attempted to start a funnel cake stand at a local flea market, but his entrepreneurial dreams were thwarted by the $50 entrance fee. (He was 14 at the time.)
A decade or so later, he’s successfully bringing funnel cakes to the people of the GTA, taking the fried-batter treat out of the carnival midway and into culinary events and markets.
For the uninitiated, a funnel cake is created by drizzling batter through a funnel directly into a deep-fryer, creating a golden-brown nest of doughy goodness. The classic funnel cake, Juchniewicz says, comes topped with strawberries in syrup, icing sugar, whipped cream, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream; it remains the truck’s most popular offering.
Minimalists, he says, go for icing sugar and cinnamon, but the list of toppings extends from maple syrup and honey to Nutella and apple-cinnamon compote. “I just said ‘What would I want on it?’”
This city loves its wacky stunt-ingredient snack foods, though – are adventurous Toronto eaters truly content to just enjoy straight-up strawberry syrup? “That’s how I ended up getting bacon bits on my menu,” Juchniewicz says.
“I was at a little dragon boat race festival, and this guy was looking at the toppings, like ‘You have maple? Do you have bacon, too?’ ” Now, even though it’s not technically on the menu, he keeps all the necessary fixings for maple bacon funnel cakes on hand.
Business has been steady since hitting the road this spring; he hopes to do more catering gigs. You might think that with one heavy, sugary-sweet item on the menu, his truck might be a tougher sell – but Juchniewicz says there are always a few brave souls ready to chow down on a funnel cake, no matter the hour.
“The ones that do eat it for lunch, they have no regrets,” Juchniewicz says. ”They just go at it. No shame.”