Culinary queen and DIY entrepreneur Katie Thom might be flying by the seat of her pants, but when she sets her mind on something, she does it, and with force.
Though operating a food truck has been on her mind for the last 10 years, it was a decision Thom only made, and fully committed to, three short months ago. On May 17th, the chef opened for business.
“I decided and therefore it was happening,” says Thom. “It was as easy as that.”
LuLu’s Lunch Truck, a one woman operated fine fare food truck, is Thom’s vision come to fruition. “I liked the idea of a food truck because it’s seasonal and the menu changes constantly, so there is lots of ability to be creative and cook my own vision.”
Originally from Ontario, Thom went to culinary school at the University of Guelph, and has been cooking and traveling for the last 15 years. She has been living off and on in Australia for the last 10 years, most recently residing in Chinchilla, Queensland.
Two years ago Thom answered the call to come north after seeing a job posting for a chef at the Yukon Suspension Bridge’s Cliff Side Restaurant. Within six days of her interview, Thom was on a plane headed north for Whitehorse from Ontario, her bags still unpacked from her Aussie return.
“I only intended to stay for the summer, and then I stayed for the winter, and another summer… and I’m still here!” laughs Thom. This job was Thom’s first when she arrived in the Yukon and it was a seasonal position (the suspension bridge only runs for summer). She worked a variety of jobs in the interim until she started her food truck this past spring.
Thom may have an impressive mixed bag of work experience, from working on a watermelon farm, to a million and a half acre cattle farm, but building a food truck was definitely not listed on her resume.
Despite having no prior knowledge in this realm, Thom took on the arduous task of building a food truck this spring.
“My friends laugh and say, no one builds a food truck in eight weeks!”
Thom did. She had the electrical and propane components done by professionals, and everything else, she did herself.
“I knew from a chef’s standpoint the equipment I wanted, and the rest was looking up regulations and requirements,” explains Thom, acknowledging Environmental Health Services as a great resource.
LuLu’s Lunch Truck offers an eclectic fine food menu, from jerk pork tacos with mango salsa to chicken in a green curry to the bacon dill pickle grilled cheese sandwich. “There’s no theme, just wholesome good food,” Thom says. You won’t see anything out of a box here. All of Thom’s wholesome food is lovingly made from scratch and her menu offers something for every taste bud. That’s saying something, especially when all the menu planning, shopping, preparation, cooking and cleanup is done by Thom.
Most days, Thom can be found working in her food truck, from morning to night. She also offers lunch catering as well, which can be ordered off her weekly menu.
“It’s well cooked food, and I don’t mean like an overcooked steak,” laughs Thom. “I want people to feel fulfilled after having a delicious, well made meal.”
Thom’s menu changes from week to week, depending on what strikes inspiration with the creative chef, and what’s on sale at the grocery store. Sometimes she offers a fan favourite week, where she features popular menu items from previous weeks, like her pork tacos, as requested by numerous lunch goers.
“It’s the chef’s equivalent of art,” she says. “I get anxiety over the weekly menu reveal. I wonder, are people going to like it? Is it boring?
“Everyone is artistic in their own way. I can’t draw to save my life and my penmanship is atrocious, but I can be creative with food.”
LuLu’s Lunch Truck can be found at the Waterfront Wharf in front of MacBride Museum from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Monday to Friday. She will also be at the Atlin and Dawson City music festivals, and private functions. Thom will run her seasonal venture, weather dependent, until September.