When asked if he’d have time to chat Saturday morning at the Ross Street Plaza, S’witchcraft Catering food truck owner Erik Juárez advised showing up before 10 a.m. as he expected to be swamped.
I arrived at 9:30 a.m., the sun was out, the nearby Downtown Salmon Arm Farmers Market was abuzz with vendors and morning shoppers and, sure enough, Juárez and his business partner Vanessa Stonehouse already had breakfasts on the go for customers – even though the truck wasn’t scheduled to open until 10.
Juárez, a self-trained chef, is all smiles as he kneels down to chat about S’witchcraft, which has earned a following since he and Stonehouse started serving the lunch crowd at Ross Street.
Juárez said he moved to Salmon Arm a year ago from North Vancouver where he owns two restaurants, BLVD Bistro and S’witch Cafe. Both continue to operate under his direction.
“I think we’ve all realized now we can manage things from afar… it’s a lot of Zoom meetings and emailing, but we get it done,” said Juárez, adding the food truck was not on his mind when he moved to Salmon Arm.
“It just kind of fell into my lap,” said Juárez. “I moved here, I didn’t know what I was doing.”
Over the month and a half S’witchcraft Catering has been in operation, Juárez said public response has been “beyond my wildest dream.”
Juárez said he wanted to be a chef at age 16 and cooking is all he’s done since.
“I’ve never done any other kind of work, just working in professional kitchens,” said Juárez, now 39. “I never went to culinary school, just read all the books and cheated and challenged the Red Seal back in the day.”
Beside the customer window of the food truck is a sheet of brown paper with the day’s menu written on it. Juárez said he changes the menu weekly so he can bring to fruition all the recipe ideas in his head inspired, in part, by the bounty of locally grown and produced items the Shuswap has to offer.
“The aim is to feature as many local farms, artisans, makers in our products as possible…,” said Juárez. “We’re just trying to share the love and showcase the best the Shuswap has to offer. That’s central to our business plan and everything we’ve set out to do.”
Juárez added his menu will always feature a plant-based item for vegan eaters.
“I think people are ready for a change and people are ready to see something new and fresh and exciting, and we just hope to bring that every single time,” said Juárez.
With 10 a.m. creeping up, and an increasing number of customers showing up at the window, Juárez, still smiling, stood up and got back to work.
Juárez plans to have the S’witchcraft Catering truck at the Ross Street Plaza location Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. He said to check S’witchcraft’s Facebook page for possible schedule changes, new menu items and other information.
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