June 21, 2012
Local chef vying for $250,000 grant to launch farm-to-table food truck idea

David Hill, owner of the popular and much-respected restaurant The Chef's Table in Rocklin, has an idea for a food truck - and he's looking for public support to help him land one of 12 $250,000 grants available to get the truck up and running and heading out to area farmers markets.

The catch? Plenty of stiff competition across the country for one of the slices of start-up funding from a $3 million pie. The program is the result of a partnership between Chase bank and LivingSocial.

I caught up with Hill to ask him about his vision for a food truck. Turns out, the restaurateur and former culinary instructor has been thinking about food trucks for years.

"Before I started The Chef's Table, it was either going to do a food truck or do the restaurant," Hill said. "It's something I've always been passionate about. I like the idea of doing a few things really well. And with a truck, you can move around and pick your audience."

What will Hill do with his truck? How about reverse course on the whole farm-to-table theme and start a truck-to-farm movement?

"The vision is to do a bigger food truck than people are doing right now. Think of it as a mobile kitchen. I want to go to the farmers markets, go really early and buy everything there and either do breakfast or lunch on the spot with what I buy," Hill said.

It's a simple but potentially brilliant idea, one that could challenge and inspire the chef to push his creativity, planning and cooking in new directions while showcasing the bounty of food grown throughout the year in and around Sacramento .

"I think it will definitely push my boundaries, and I love the idea of supporting the farmers," Hill said.

There's also an educational side to the food truck idea. Hill would like to carve out time each week to visit schools with his truck, teach kids about real food and get them to try samples of what he's cooking. In an age of Luncheables and unpronunceables on the ingredients lists for packaged foods, this is a new and refreshing take on what British chef/activist Jamie Oliver has started.

Hill needs local help in the form of online votes. Doesn't matter if you're a Republican or a Democrat. All those who like his idea and want to see this food truck come to life, go here to cast your vote. And if you have a good idea for a name for Hill's food truck, let us know. The deadline is in 10 days.

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