This summer, The Main and Le Cheese have teamed up to bring you Food Truck Diaries: the story of a food truck in operation and the challenges that it faces on a daily basis. This is Chapter 1, documented by local instagrammer @Olympialui. For the full Food Truck Diaries, click here.
Starting a food truck is the first step to having a great story, and the three friends who founded Le Cheese in 2013 have just that. Friends from Westmount High, Jared, Ketan, and Pascal gathered around a favourite brunch spot in Monkland—Prohibition—to discuss a crazy idea. From that, Le Cheese was born.
We’ll talk more about the foundation later, but first, here are the characters:
Pascal Salzman, aka “The Big Cheese,” is known as somewhat of a local celebrity. Walking down the streets of Monkland, he’s always sure to run into people that recognize him, and if he doesn’t, he’ll make a new friend at the next corner. It’s his love of people and outgoing personality that earned him his nickname, and he’s known in the truck as the point-man, the handyman, and the go-to guy. Pascal loves being front and center, meeting customers and spreading the joy.
Ketan Patel, aka “Captain Cook,” may be small in stature, but he packs a big punch. If his nickname didn’t give it away, he loves to cook, and especially loves deep frying. He’d deep fry people’s kids if they asked him to. Born and raised in the Plateau, Ketan likes to bump hip-hop in the shop and plays a key role in backing up the team.
Jared Dunawa, aka “The Shadow of the Bat,” earned his nickname from impromptu rap battles during break times. Born and raised in NDG, Jared is a great cook and is absolutely obsessive when it comes to cleaning. He’s also a notorious chess master, unbeaten amongst the crew, he sets the standard for a good chess game. Clean, analytical, and full of brains, Jared helps hold the crew together, and keep the truck sparkly.
Rick Stilles entered a bit later to help the guys out. If he was a member of the fellowship of the ring, he’d be Gandalf. By the end of May 2013, Rick had refined the menu, making sure that nothing is frozen, that veggies come in fresh, and that everything is made in house.
Ben Carter came in as the business manager, handling everything but the cooking. He’s a major player in helping Le Cheese reach Montrealers and tell its story.
This week you can see photos of the team making tater tots by hand and serving food hot, showing the dedication Le Cheese has to fresh food. And meet the instagrammer below!
Meet the instagrammer, @Olympialui:
Q: What are some of your favourite Montreal spots?
A: Currently, my favourite spot as a whole would be the Mile-End!
Q: When did you start taking photos and how has that affected your life?
A: I started taking pictures when I was pretty young. I got my first digital camera at around 10 and I took pictures of everything. Nowadays I remember a lot of day to day events through pictures I’ve posted on Instagram. If it weren’t posting pictures on social media, I probably wouldn’t remember when the last time I went to Blizzarts on St-Laurent, or what the name of that Michelin mentioned restaurant in Aix-en-Provence.
Q: What is your favourite thing to photograph?
A: In my opinion, easy access to a good quality camera on my iPhone and social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have changed what I take pictures of. I used to love capturing authentic “in the moments” pictures. Nowadays, whether it’s a moment I want to remember or it’s aesthetically “Instagram worthy”, I’d capture it.
Q: What is your process for taking the perfect (Instagram) photo?
A: My Instagram pictures are usually large plan, have bright colours and are taken in natural daylight. When it’s a picture of people, I tend to pick the one that looks the most natural, i.e. when everyone is laughing or preparing their pose.
Q: Who are some of your favourite instagrammers?
A: My favourite instagrammers would probably include @arielealasko and @anotherfeather. They are both artists and show their craft through their pictures. They each have a distinct style that I appreciate a lot.