There’s a new enterprise to the Yukon pizza scene. It’s big, unmistakably blue, and it’s serving up local ingredients atop a wood-fired crust, slope style.
Ski Bum Pizza Co. is Yukon’s first pizza food truck, and the brainchild of longtime Yukon resident Eric Telford and ‘za loving, culinary wizard, Tara Paczkowski. The engaged duo seem to have a lot in common, and two of those things have been fused into one, delicious marriage: fresh tracks and artisan pizza.
After discussing dreams that would allow Telford and Paczkowski more freedom and mobility, they decided on a food truck venture, which seemed a perfect fit with Paczkowski’s natural kitchen talents, and their shared passion for pizza.
“We both love pizza and we wanted to do one thing really well,” Telford says. “We didn’t want a complicated, stressful operation that would require us to waste anything.”
That’s why Ski Bum Pizza Co. has a refined menu based on what is fresh, seasonal and local.
Telford says that Paczkowski, who is originally from Kamloops, has been a “driving force in developing connections with local growers and planning ingredient combos.”
Their menu showcases organic marinara sauce and vegetables sourced locally from Whitehorse and Atlin farms.
The ski slope themed menu will generally consist of three to four pizzas- a Margherita (with fresh basil, herbs and mozzarella), a seasonal vegetable combo, and a deluxe with meat and veggies. Though the featured flavours will change depending on what is seasonal, Telford says pizza loving Yukoners can always expect super fresh ingredients, a light and airy handmade crust that has been slow-risen overnight, and a tangy tomato sauce.
The Atlin based entrepreneurs will be serving wood-fired slices this summer out their food truck, a bright blue, retired Grumman mail truck.
At first glance, it’s hard to imagine a brick oven fits inside their converted truck, but as as Telford explains, it does, and with just enough room for a small nook for Paczkowski, who is seven months pregnant, to rest.
“We found it on Craigslist in Vancouver,” Telford recounts of their late night impulse purchase. “We bought it sight unseen.”
Apollo Food Trucks in Telford’s hometown of Surrey did the customizations to bring the 1984 mail truck to life, including installing a full commercial kitchen. The 46-inch brick oven is the heart of the wood-fired pizza operation and Telford credits the food truck company, as well as the Bread Stone Ovens Company in Texas for making it all happen.
“Pizza making is a weird community,” laughs Telford. “Everyone is open and helpful, and strangely, you’re kind of on the same team, no matter where you live.”
“It’s not the ideal vehicle as it’s really tight, but they customized it so we have enough room,” Telford says.
The pair will be working in close proximity next to a 900 degree wood-fired oven, but adventure seems to be something that comes natural for the couple, who met two years ago. Telford and Paczkowski are currently on maternity and paternity leave while they await the arrival of their baby in July.
“It’s been an adventure for sure, but it feels like the right fit for us. It’s working out so far,” Telford says.
This summer, Ski Bum Pizza Co. can be found based in Atlin from Sunday to Tuesday, and in Whitehorse from Wednesday to Saturday, at the corner of Steele and Third Ave. Every Thursday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. they will be at the Fireweed Community Market in Shipyards Park, and throughout the summer at Winterlong Brewing, summer music festivals like Atlin Arts and Music Festival, as well as, “weddings, sporting events, and probably at some of the random bush parties that make Yukon summers the best.” Come fall, Telford and Paczkowski plan on taking their mobile show on the road. Their plan is to partner with Over Time Beer Works in Kimberley, B.C., where their “slope” pizza will be right at home in the Kootenays. (It’s called “slope pizza” because it’s sold on the slopes of the ski hill). After living the ski bum, pie slinging lifestyle from January through March, they will return to the Yukon for April. By selling enough pizza in the spring, summer and fall, they hope to shred mountains all winter long.
“We’ll be spending as much time as we can in Atlin for the shoulder seasons, and then in Whitehorse for spring and summer,” Telford says.
On May 13th, Ski Bum Pizza Co. had their first crack at serving wood-fired pizzas at their opening celebration at Winterlong Brewing Company. Their featured pizzas included a Yukon Beets pizza with goat cheese, walnuts and olive oil, and a Yukon-made pepperoni pizza with peppers and aged cheddar.
“We’re looking to support the whole food truck scene and if the City of Whitehorse is keen to support more food truck activity in more locations, I think it can grow significantly,” Telford says.
While Telford notes their current setup doesn’t allow them to have a larger menu, their pizzas will change daily depending on what’s fresh and available.
“What we lack in range, we make up for in freshness, flavour and quality,” Telford says. “We’re hoping to serve the freshest and most interesting pizzas in Whitehorse.”
For more information, check out Ski Bum Pizza Co.’s website SkiBumPizza.com or Facebook page.