April 25, 2011
After months of searching and comparing prices the Meatball Team has finally purchased our truck. This was the very first truck we looked at and we kept coming back to it. There were newer, prettier ones out there, but this one has character, in a Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree kinda way. Our Mechanic/Engineer says it’s a power horse and with a little attention it’s going to do exactly what we need it to. With our very limited budget we decided it would be MUCH more cost effective to build it out ourselves. It’s a little smaller than most mobile kitchens, but we’ve got a pretty awesome team of people working on it and they say it can be done. So stay tuned for our progress updates. Very soon the Magical Meatball Tour will be making it’s way around the streets of KC and beyond. Our goal is to be open the First Friday in June, so keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer to the Meatballs gods for us!
March 16, 2011
Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.- Stephen Kaggwa
Can two chefs who have spent years in the service industry, barely making over minimum wage realize the dream of starting their own business? It’s a question I ask myself in my darkest moments.
Ceasar, my business partner, is a professional dreamer. I am generally a realist (skeptic?), but in the last few years I’ve become an optimist-in-training. I am blessed to have wonderful people around me who encourage me to follow my dreams. We share the same vision of success.
I left a lucrative career in the corporate world to follow my passion for food and serving people. While some might find this crazy, I found it fulfilling. I had to give up the new car, the vacations, the carefree spending but I gained so much more in return. I started my journey as a personal chef, but discovered that I missed working with people. That led me to take yet another pay cut and offer my services to help a friend manage her restaurant. She told me from the beginning that she wasn’t in the position to pay me much, but I thought of it as a glorified internship. I will always feel blessed that she gave me the opportunity. I learned so much, but most of all I learned that I LOVE the restaurant industry.
About that partner: I met Chef Ceasar Reyes at this restaurant. Ceasar is larger than life, with a quick sense of humor, positive attitude and amazing cooking skills! He loves to be in the kitchen. We can be balls to the wall busy, with a full restaurant crowded, around a 100 degree plus grill, but he never tires. He just turns up the music and sings off loudly (and off tune), keeping the kitchen running like a well-oiled machine. Nothing phases this, guy which is amazing considering the trials he has endured, as documented in his bother Rudy’s book Hero Living. I often call him the Indomitable Ceasar. He dreams, he dreams big and he doesn’t let anything stand in the way.
When the restaurant we were working in—like so many other businesses—felt the sting of a slow economy, we were gently told that we may need to start looking for part-time work elsewhere. I had already been grappling with my next step, knowing this wasn’t my final destination; and Ceasar has always dreamed of owning a restaurant. We worked well together and knew that we be wonderful partners. We began to narrow down the concepts and became very excited about the possibility of a mobile food truck. (Of course Ceasar’s dream is fleet of mobile trucks. See? Big dreams!) Realizing the enormous startup costs associated with opening a restaurant, we agreed that a mobile kitchen just might be something we could pull off. We began to get more and more excited as every detail seemed to fall into place. When we discovered Kickstarter, a community funding program, we knew we had to give it a shot. We both like the idea of not just asking for donations, but giving something back as well. We have been overwhelmed by the contributions we’ve received thus far, but even more so by the support of everyone we meet. Seemingly everyone wants to lend a helping hand. It’s unbelievably inspiring.
So will we be able to finance our dream with Kickstarter? We’ll know in just a matter of weeks. If not, it doesn’t mean we will quit trying. Dreams precede goals. And we are dreaming of MEATBALLS!
March 6, 2011
We are having so much fun! The support behind our Magical Meatball Tour has been overwhelming and we are incredibly grateful. We have gotten donations not only from KC, but as far away as California and Texas! Fox news saw us on kickstarter and contacted us about doing a segment. It was a fascinating experience to see the inner workings of a TV studio. It was a little nerve wracking but the news team put us right at ease. (Click anywhere on this message to view the video)
February 20, 2011
February 17, 2011
Ok, got your attention? 🙂 Actually, it looks like we have lots of folks’ attention and support as far as our meatball truck is concerned. It’s so exciting. Not one person has stepped up to say, “Venus, are you insane? Are you really going to open your own business again? Don’t you remember the headaches, the paperwork, the time it takes? What are you thinking?”
I have heard those questions, but the only voice has come from my own fears. I’ve often heard that the only one who stands in the way of your success is you and I believe it’s true.
Our project has been approved by Kickstarter, a community funding website. We have our promotional video ready to go, but I haven’t been able to pull the trigger yet, because once I do, I know that there is no turning back. The very idea that people believe in this idea enough to put their money behind it, is wonderful but also a little scary. I don’t want to let anyone down. I won’t let anyone down. So it begins. I will submit our project before the weekend is over. At that moment my life will become 24/7 meatball madness!
I value the balance I strive to obtain in my life, part of the fear is knowing that my life will be out of balance for the next few months as we bring the project into fruition. It has to be. Thank god for my wonderful husband who completely understands and is so supportive. He’s been through this before with me and yet he is still my greatest cheerleader. And my partner, Ceasar, who never lacks in enthusiasm and keeps it fun.
Alright little voice of fear. I acknowledge you but I am not going to succumb to you – back into your cage. I’m not letting you stand in the way of my success. HERE WE GO! This is going to be AWESOME!
January 25, 2011
January 22, 2011
Ok, you creative meatball (or meatless ball) types. Help us name our Meatball Truck and you will be entered in a drawing to win a $20.00 certificate to use at our truck. We’ve listed a few of our ideas, but I bet one of you out there will come up with something that will blow us away.(To be entered in the drawing, please leave your name in the comment section) Peace, Love and Meatballs!
*I thought I set the poll to let you put your own name for our truck in but I guess it didn’t work. If you have a better name and we choose it, you will get a gift certificate as well as be entered in the drawing. Just put your idea in a comment and we will see it!*
January 20, 2011
And so it begins, yet another new phase in my culinary adventure! If you don’t know, I left the corporate world two years ago to pursue my passion for FOOD and PEOPLE. I took classes through the Business Culinary Academy, joined the USPCA (United States Personal Chef Association) and started my new career. I loved the new profession but I still felt like something was missing.
About a year ago, I ran into a wonderful woman who owns a local restaurant in Kansas City. We had known each other through our involvement in the local music scene but not much more that that. We got to talking and found that my corporate background in Workforce Management along with my catering experience could be useful to her as she was opening at a new location and lucky me, she offered me a management job! I fell in love with the restaurant business! I felt I was one step closer to where I’m supposed to be. And while I am extremely thankful for the invaluable experience, I knew that this job was more like an internship for my next step.
Meanwhile, I became friends with a long time Kansas City Chef Ceasar Reyes. In the midst of a hectic day cooking over the grill, after a long night of catering or a crazy weekend at the restaurant we would dream about someday opening our own place. We have very similar goals and work amazingly together. From very early on, we knew we would someday be partners. We talked at length about opening a restaurant, but the low profit margin and high start up costs always brought us back to reality.
While watching trends in the restaurant industry, we noticed that for two years in a row mobile kitchens were at the top of the list. On both coasts it has become a cultural phenomenon, but here in the Midwest, the trend is just starting to take off. The time is now! We looked into it and discovered that this was actually a project we could afford to do and do well. And while we are both versed in many sorts of cuisines but we wanted something that would be simple and delicious and FUN!
A Meatball Truck.
Oh no not just any meatball truck. The Magical Meatball Mobile. The best balls you have ever put in your mouth….ahem. Vegetarians, vegans, carnivores – we will have a delicious ball for every taste. Italian, Mexican, Asian – balls of all cultures. We will bring these balls to the masses. Music venues, street festivals, corporate lunch breaks – we’ll be there.
With my flair for the dramatic and Ceasar’s flair for the … uhh … odd, this will not be your grandparents’ mobile kitchen. Don’t be surprised if you step outside of your favorite music venue this spring and see circus performers and fire eaters peddling the best tasting meatballs in Kansas City. Stay tuned for upcoming details!