I have been asked many times why I would open a hand made pasta food truck and I can see why people are curious. At the conception of the idea, I had never seen such a thing and after endless research I still cant find an example of one like us. There are pasta trucks but none of them are hand making pasta on the truck every day. Maybe the reason behind this is the complication of pasta production when compared to the alternative. Pasta making is a labor intensive process, and I don’t think this will be an easy road to go down but I’ve never been one to pick the easy road.
I was told by industry professionals, whom I trust and respect, to pick something easier, or something proven to succeed as my first solo venture. I didn’t listen to their advice and instead I forged my own path to create a food truck that I would be excited to work on every day. I want my passion for Italian food be be on show to the world, and I want people that eat at our truck to taste a part of that passion. As much as a taco truck with a funky twist would be a sure thing as a money maker, it wouldn’t be the business I could fully express myself in as a chef. The name Amo La Vita translates to “I love life” and this is the ethos behind creating this truck. I want to finish every day feeling proud of the food I created, pleased by the way we served it and happy to repeat the process the following day. The reason that I decided to ignore suggestions of alternative food truck themes, and continue with my dream of a fresh handmade pasta truck, was because I love making pasta, am passionate about Italian food, and I knew that this would allow me to love the life that i was living.
But why am i passionate about pasta? Pasta is an amazing medium for showcasing the high quality of the individual products that make up the whole dish. A pasta dish can be as simple as Orecchetti in butter with cracked pepper and still be the best meal you have ever eaten. A dish so simple can only be that good if every element is thought about and selected extremely carefully to ensure quality; from the fat content of the butter to the conditions the cows were kept in; from the variety of the wheat used to when it was ground, or from the pasta shape itself to the grain of the wooden board it was rolled on. Even the style of pepper mill used can effect the final product. Its this complexity in simplicity that makes pasta an amazing medium to work with.
As a chef, pasta is endlessly intriguing. Once you think you have learnt everything about a specific region’s pasta you’ll suddenly find out that a small town in that region has its own unique, traditional dish unlike anything you were previously aware of. The best thing about pasta is that you can chose if you want to honour these traditions, or shake them up. If you can imagine it, you can make it! You only have to look at Instagram accounts like Salty Seattle’s to see that the options are endless. Whilst the type of pasta I love to work with isn’t as complex as her creations, I am still extremely impressed by her artistic talent and imagination. Personally, i prefer to make more natural looking pastas. Whilst I often use colour in my doughs to make them bright and interesting, I am more concerned with the appearance of the whole dish than the pasta element alone. I always try to push myself with using natural dyes, derived from products like kale or squid ink. I use this to make my pasta stand out whilst still fitting the dish they are intended to be served in.
Pasta, in my mind, is a kind of base from which to start; the delivery method for great flavours and textures. I use pasta shapes which will compliment the other ingredients in the dish and will deliver the perfect mouthful of flavours and textures in every bite. Pasta should be easy to eat, able to be consumed with one hand whilst sitting in a park, it can be the perfect snack food or quick meal on the run. However, pasta can also be elegant and gourmet, perfectly suited to a high class, formal restaurant environment. Essentially, pasta is a blank slate that a chef can use to create whatever end product they desire.
To me pasta is my way of showcasing the amazing seasonal ingredients that the sea to sky region has available. Pasta might be my focus, but the stars of the show are whichever fresh local ingredients are used on any given day. Any chef will tell you that it is much easier to create amazing food if you start with amazing products. British Columbia offers me almost every ingredient I could ask for, and the care and attention of the local farmers ensures that they are of the highest quality. My aim is to produce gourmet, local, sustainably sourced meals at the same price as a dirty burrito from your neighbourhood taco truck, to prove to the world that it doesn’t cost a fortune to eat well, and look after the planet.