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Truckin’ awesome goodies from Gourmet Bitches

Watch Toronto’s Gourmet Bitch Shontelle Pinch talk about the ins and outs of the food truck business.

By Jane Auster

Food truck goddess Shontelle Pinch likes to recount the story behind the name of her business Gourmet Bitches, with its motto “Redefining the word Bitch, one bite at a time.”

“When we [Shontelle and co-founder Bianka Matchett] were talking about the idea of starting a food truck and food delivery service, a friend of ours said: ‘have you looked at you two; you’re spicy and strong and kickass women. You’re gourmet bitches.’ This is looking at bitch in a strong connotation, a woman who’s non bullshit and outspoken, a woman who goes after what she wants. So we thought, okay let’s show these guys. I love the name and I wouldn’t change it.”

For one thing, food trucks in Canada are still largely dominated by men. But Shontelle Pinch wheels a huge truck around downtown Toronto, often selling her signature gluten-free delights outside the Sony Centre or in Ryerson University’s back yard. You can’t miss it…and thousands wouldn’t want to.


5 top tips for wannabe food truckers

  • Manage the municipal red tape. Setting up shop as a food trucker is more than just parking in a prime location. There are a lot of regulations to manage.
  • Make sure you have a facility to park your truck and a power outlet. Now that you have a truck that’s full of equipment, you need power, otherwise you’re going to have to throw out a lot of food.
  • Understand your costs. In addition to your daily food costs, your other costs, such as parking, can add up to $500/day.
  • Build your network. Other food truckers are a great source of information and camaraderie. Plug into their expertise.
  • Focus on social media. Since you’re on the move, people need to know about you. Make Twitter your best friend.

Gourmet Bitches has been in business since April 2012. While Pinch didn’t come from a foodservice background, she had always had a flair for cooking and innovation. Rather than use a small truck perhaps more fitting for someone who is all of 5’2” and 100 lbs., she turned to Kitchens on Wheels Canada to turn a reconditioned FedEx truck into a rolling professional kitchen.

This is no ordinary mobile kitchen. For one thing, it features three sinks, for rinsing, soaking and washing, as well as all the equipment a bricks and mortar might include. “In fact, our kitchen has better equipment than some restaurants.”

Along with Sacha Miller, Pinch’s right hand and sous chef, she features some menu regulars, such as her gluten-free fish tacos and chicken wings with special dry rub seasoning, but she also mixes it up with seasonal specials, like pumpkin soup, pulled pork (dairy-free) poutine, and pulled pork tacos, always using fresh ingredients sourced locally.

“You’re able to change up your menu all the time and do different things because you’re always on the go,” says Pinch. “Having a food truck enables you to be different, to pop up at a wedding, do whatever you want and make money anywhere.”

She also loves the brotherhood – and sisterhood – of food truckers. “I like our community and how we stick together.”