FoodTruckr Heroes: Chef Joe Youkhan’s Tasting Spoon

Truth time: the food truck industry isn’t for the lazy or weak of heart.

Notoriously restrictive local laws make it tough to even get a truck up and running.  Then, if you manage to open a food truck, you’ll be working long hours and grueling shifts to bring in even small profits.  Doing okay and bringing in regular income from your truck?  Well, you still have to compete with other food trucks and local brick and mortar restaurants to attract enough customers to make your business sustainable over the long-term.

It’s a tough game, and not everyone is up to the challenge.  But our latest FoodTruckr Hero, Chef Joe Youkhan, most certainly is.

Joe runs Chef Joe Youkhan’s Tasting Spoon, a gourmet food truck and catering business in southern California.  Though Chef Joe has a pretty impressive culinary background (he worked as an Executive Chef in the events and catering division of the Ritz-Carlton, served as a Corporate Executive Chef at Chat Noir, and has even appeared on the Cooking Channel’s “Eat St.” and Food Network’s “Chopped”), it’s his deep engagement in the food truck community that has earned him a spot on our list of FoodTruckr Heroes.

See, to be a successful food truck owner holding your own amidst tough competition and stressful working conditions, you have to be willing to go the extra mile in every aspect of your business.  Chef Joe exemplifies this lesson.  From his carefully crafted recipes to his frequent participation in local events, Joe knows that running a food truck isn’t just a job—it’s a lifestyle.

You May Also Like...  Portland Food Trucks That Foodies Need To Try Immediately

There are, of course, innumerable factors that go into running a successful food truck business, so we’ll just highlight a few of the things that Chef Joe is doing oh so right:

1. Community Involvement

Sure, you can make a living by having regular truck stops and a pretty stable routine around the city—but you can really take your truck to the next level by getting involved in community events and festivals.

During the month of April alone, Chef Joe served at a radio fundraiser, WonderCon, the Newport Beach Food and Wine Festival, a “Spring Fling” carnival event, and a yacht show.  He also served on the judging panel at Kid Healthy, a program dedicated to fighting childhood obesity.  Chef Joe’s involvement in the local community allows him to connect with fans and has helped him build a reputation as a committed, passionate truck owner.

2. Sharing Stories

We believe that sharing your personal story is one of the best ways to connect with fans.  Sharing your story can take many forms—some food truck owners right in-depth bios on their sites, others explain the origins of their truck’s name, and many post photos and updates from their lives alongside their upcoming locations.

Chef Joe lets fans get to know him through the “About” page on his website.  Here, we have the chance to learn about Joe’s culinary background and the origins of his truck, but we also get a glimpse of what inspired him to take this path—he “grew up in a culinary environment” and frequently enjoyed “his Nana’s home cooked family meals in New York.”  We also learn a little about his personal life in the “Interesting Tidbits” section—turns out that Chef Joe once had a small role in a Jennifer Love-Hewitt movie and has a black belt in Eagle Claw Kung Fu and a 2nd degree purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu!

You May Also Like...  The Mobile Pub Is Providing A Truly Unique Experience To The Food Truck Industry

3. Incredible Food

At the end of the day, food truck success stories are really all based around the food, and Chef Joe Youkhan’s Tasting Spoon is no exception.  He receives regular rave reviews from his fans, and has received a number of prestigious awards over the past 10 years.  Here’s what Chef Joe has to say about his cooking:

“A lot of what I do is taking any ingredient and try to maximize its flavor and texture potential.  So even if it’s ‘just’ mashed potatoes, you’ll eat it and say to yourself—WOW, these are the most insane mashed potatoes I’ve ever eaten, how did you do that?  I enjoy the simplicity of the final product; even though it may be a complicated process of butchering, brining, cold smoking, and finally grilled and glazed.  Then you have my Signature Pork Chops.  To my guests, they may appear like “just a pork chop” until they eat it and realize it’s the best pork chop they’ve ever eaten.”

Talk about true commitment to the craft!  Plus, aren’t you hungry for a juicy grilled pork chop and some of those awesomely flavorful mashed potatoes just after reading that description?

By staying truly involved and giving 110% in every aspect of his business, Chef Joe has already made a huge impression on thousands of hungry, loyal fans.  He’s a great example for food truck owners who want to get more involved in their communities, and an inspiration to all of you who are working to open your own food trucks now!  Keep up the great work, Joe!  We’re so excited to name you as our latest FoodTruckr Hero and we can’t wait to see what you’ll do next.

You May Also Like...  FoodTruckr Heroes: East Side King

image from Chef Joe Youkhan’s Tasting Spoon Facebook page

Recently on FoodTruckr

The Top 3 Reasons Why Prospective Chefs Should Join The Food Truck Industry If your dream is to cook food for a living, and finally be able to attach the title "Chef" to your business cards, then look no further than the food truck industry to make this dream come true. Th...
5 Menu Ideas For New Food Truck Owners You're new to the food truck industry (or getting ready to enter it), and you have a million things running through your head as a result. Of course, one of the things that probably constantly runs...
Food Truck Advice From Real Mobile Kitchen Owners: Part 2 There's no better way to learn about a particular industry than by learning from people who are currently conquering it. In the spirit of that thinking, we have compiled some food truck advice from...
3 Ingredients To Create The Perfect Environment For Your Food Truck Employees Editor’s Note: Today we’re excited to present a post from Jeremy Adams. Jeremy is the President/CEO of Prestige Food Trucks, which is the world's leading custom food truck manufacturer. In his current...
FS009- How Craig Expanded His Food Truck Business into Catering and Classes In this episode of FoodTruckr School, I'm very happy to introduce you to Craig Barbour, owner of the Roots food truck in Charlotte, North Carolina. Craig's background in the catering industry b...
The 12 Days of FoodTruckr: 8 Food Trucks You Should Try On the eighth day of Christmas, FoodTruckr’s giving you… 8 Food Trucks You Should Try! With just a few more days until Christmas, today feels like a great time to honor some of our favorite FoodTruc...
Work-Life Balance Is Crucial In The Food Truck Industry In this week's edition of Throwback Thursday, we decided to go all the way back to last year. One might be wondering why, and it's a valuable question. Last year around this time, FoodTruckr did an...
Rock The Last 3 Months Of 2018 With These Food Truck Tips Editor’s Note: Today we’re excited to present a post from Jeremy Adams. Jeremy is the President/CEO of Prestige Food Trucks, which is the world's leading custom food truck manufacturer. In his current...
3 Things Food Truck Owners Have To Constantly Tell Themselves To Ensure Success If you are hungry for success like so many food truck owners tend to be, then you are likely looking for ways to up your food truck game. In other words, you are looking for ways to attract more custo...
Flashback Friday: Market Like An Advanced Food Truck Owner As you have likely heard so many times before, being a food truck owner takes so much more than cooking food and serving customers. Things like being a boss/manger/leader will come into play. Netwo...
Throwing It Back To Every FoodTruckr Article From June 2017 With it being Thursday and with June 2018 lurking around the corner, we decided to highlight every article from June 2017. The hope is that these articles will help you reach your goals and achieve...
Is The Food Truck Industry Still Growing? Whether you're new to the food truck industry, have been an owner for years, or want to join in the future, you're likely wondering the forecast of this beloved industry. Unfortunately, we can't te...
Reasons Why We Love The Food Truck Industry The food truck industry is awesome -- there is really no other way to put it. Why do we love the food truck industry today? Well, we will be giving you some golden reasons why we love this magical and...
FoodTruckr Heroes: Cultured Caveman Some food trucks get our attention by offering the most scrumptious, creative new recipes we’ve ever heard of.  Others stand out by offering the best possible versions of classic dishes that we all kn...
5 Reasons We Can’t Wait for 2015 2014 was our first full year here in business at FoodTruckr, and we have to say—what an incredible year it’s been! From the debut of our “How to Start a Food Truck” series to having an episode of the ...

About the Author

Nicole Farley

Nicole Farley is the Managing Editor at FoodTruckr and a food truck aficionado. A graduate of The University of Kansas, she loves writing, business development, connecting with food truck owners, and cheering for the Jayhawks. Connect with Nicole on the FoodTruckr Facebook page or email her at [email protected]

Love it? Share it: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter