My stretch goal is 100,000€. The extra would allow me to get a French driver's license and all the necessary permits to be able to sell not only piping-hot gumbo and étouffée, but also to do so throughout France, not just in Paris.
I'd also be able to rent a professional kitchen once a week for extra prep and storage, and to have access to a deep-freezer, smoker and grill to really be able to offer homemade boudin, hamburgers, veggie burgers, etc., and home-smoked sausage and tasso.
Festival-goer: “What kind of music do you play?” Me: “Cajun.” Festival-goer: blank stare followed by, “I love your sandwiches!”
Europe is full of Cajun and World and Folk music festivals and I've tried Cajun food at all of them. Every time, I've wondered why people were eating the slop, then realized there weren't many other options. I want to show these people how delicious real Cajun food is when it's lovingly prepared by someone who really knows how to do it and wants to take the time to do it right.
For almost 7 years now I've been steadily building a very strong reputation for my cooking—restaurant events, catering, cooking demonstrations, international TV appearances, radio interviews, my cookbook (currently on the short list for the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in May)—as well as a large fan base of people who want more and more of my cooking. So many people come to my events and, upon trying gumbo for the first time, ask why there are no Cajun restaurants around.
I will offer several variations of Louisiana specialties, including poboys, gumbos, snacks, desserts and more, both regular and vegetarian options, all prepared in the truck. From roux to pie crusts to sausage, everything will be made in the truck except French bread (because this is France and because it's a truck that will have too much other stuff going on in it). I will post the exact menu once we're getting closer to opening. A girl's gotta keep some secrets, y'all!
Here's where Philippe Chaize comes into the picture. Philippe is French and worked for over a decade in government-run children's programs. When he decided to start a new path, he ran a successful bar in Paris, then began considering a restaurant. With the rapidly-growing demand for food trucks in Paris, though, he started thinking more along that line. The idea for a Cajun food truck started in November when a mutual friend told him he should get in touch with me.
Philippe has all the contacts—lawyers, state advisors for auto-entrepreneurs, accountants, people who already have food trucks in other cities, people who have huge restaurants and catering businesses here—and the know-how to put it all together, make a business work, get the right licenses, ask the right questions, how to handle French bureaucracy... While we'll prepare the food together and work in the truck together, his side of the business will be logistics, accounting, legalities, occupational and hygienic standards, parking, rights on stationing and sales, taxes and all the other stuff I can't do, about which I know nothing and don't much care to learn.
The cost of a used, fully-equipped truck in France starts at 47,000€.
Truck wrap 3,500€
Renting a professional kitchen once a week for 1 year 1,700€
Pots, pans, knives, cutting boards, food storage bins, coffee maker, food processor, sausage-stuffing meat grinder, other small kitchen equipment 2,000€
Cash register, credit card processing equipment, office supplies 800€
Utensils and paper goods 1,500€
Initial food and beverage purchases 2,750€
Professional, legal and consulting fees 2,000€
Initial advertising and PR 1,500€
Permits and licensing 5,000€
Cost of French driver's license for me 1,200€