Gourmet food truck owners in Toronto make great food for hungry crowds. And some of them go above and beyond the call of duty, organizing, cheerleading and making noise at city hall to help promote the growth of their industry. And it’s not just truck owners – there are a handful of other food truck lovers who are busy advocating and organizing to help ensure that Toronto’s emerging gourmet food truck scene continues to grow. I took a moment to outline who’s who in the Toronto (and area) food truck scene.
Scott Fraser, Hogtown Smoke
Scott is a vocal advocate for bylaw change who shows up at city hall meeting speaking passionately about his business. He organizes the schedule for food trucks parked at the Sony Centre and recently opened a successful sit-down restaurant in Toronto’s beaches, too.
Will Randolph, Feisty Jack
Will organizes the trucks that park at Roy Thomson Hall which is currently the only public spot that’s still consistently active in the city.
Zane Caplansky, Caplansky’s Food Truck (Thundering Thelma)
The owner of the popular deli and award winning food truck is no shrinking violet when it comes to talking about changes needed to Toronto city food truck bylaws, making the rounds of the media and compelling arguments (like this Toronto Star op-ed piece) about changes needed to Toronto city food truck bylaws.
The computer systems engineer and owner of Spotlight Toronto is also the de facto godfather of the Toronto food truck scene. Suresh launched the first food truck rallies in the city, he organizes Awestruck (the biggest food truck rally in Canada) and hosts regular Food Truck Eats truck rally events around the city. He coordinated the 2012 city of Toronto Food Truck Pilot Project and is generally speaking, knower of all there is to know about starting a food truck in Toronto: bylaws, permits, generators, social media.
Toronto City Councillor, Mary Margaret McMahon
Perhaps city hall’s most vocal advocate of food trucks, McMahon was recently granted a seat on the municipal licensing and standards committee – the folks who will be rewriting the street food vending bylaw.
Toronto City Councillor Josh Colle
Council’s other food truck advocate, Colle is a vocal supporter of food trucks in the media – saying change is coming too slowly and often encouraging the city to make small tweaks to the by-law, while truck’s await its complete overhaul: “I want to let food trucks operate in the city — it’s pretty simple,” Colle has said.
Honorable Mentions for Out-of-Town Movers and Shakers:
Hamiltonians Graeme Smith (Gorilla Cheese) and Mike Pitton (Southern Smoke)
Graeme and Mike changed the game in Hamilton by leasing a plot of land and inviting local food trucks to set up shop – giving birth to ‘Food Truck Alley.’
El Gastronomo Vagabundo, Adam Hynam-Smith and Tamara Jensen,
Ontario’s first gourmet food truck based in St. Catharines is no stranger to Toronto’s streets and no stranger to fighting the red tape – or finding creative solutions – that keep gourmet food trucksstuck in neutral.
El Luchador Gourmet Streatery, Reuben Salonga
Though his food truck has only been on the streets a few months, Luchador owner Reuben Salonga is busy cutting the red tape in his Waterloo home town. Dismayed but not daunted by restrictive bylaws, Reuben is busy finding ways to work with local businesses and charities to create food truck events – and launched his first local food truck rally in the fall of 2013. He also picked up a mitt-ful of awards at Awestruck 2013.