Keep on truckin' 

RMOW food-truck program returning to local parks

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - wok this way Whistler's The Rockin' Wok is one of several new options offered as part of the Resort Municipality of Whistler's Food Truck Program in 2018.
  • PHOTO submitted
  • wok this way Whistler's The Rockin' Wok is one of several new options offered as part of the Resort Municipality of Whistler's Food Truck Program in 2018.

Donné Thornton and her fiancé Rory Riley-Gillespie love to travel all over the globe.

Their adventures in southeast Asia actually ended up inspiring their food truck, The Rockin' Wok, but the duo are happy to stick closer to home as part of the Resort Municipality of Whistler's (RMOW) Parks Food Truck Program.

In its fourth year of operation, The Rockin' Wok will finally have the chance to serve Whistlerites in its four dates at Rainbow Park in addition to a couple additional openings at the Whistler Farmers Market.

"It's awesome to be able to do things in Whistler, because there are a lot of rules surrounding the food trucks," Thornton said. "This really gives us an opportunity to do business in our own hometown. The past few years, we've really found ourselves travelling a lot just to do business."

They've had successes, gaining familiar customers from their regular spot at the Squamish Farmers Market, while the Lower Mainland festivals at which they pop up tend to attract the same clientele.

Thornton explained the truck's gluten- and dairy-free menu was inspired by a trip she and Riley-Gillespie made to a music festival, where the food on offer—save for French fries—didn't fit with their dietary restrictions.

"Essentially, we're serving pad Thai but just all jazzed up different ways," she said. "We had about eight months to a year of testing in our kitchen at home. Three to four times a week, we'd have pad Thai and we'd figure out our recipes, figure out what we wanted to pair with what and the menu was born."

One of the Thornton's main goals has been to bring authentic pad Thai to the corridor, as western versions of the sauce have been made with ketchup instead of the traditional tamarind. They also offer a spicy soy sauce and a peanut sauce that Thornton said they're considering bottling and selling separately.

Thornton noted this year marks the first time she and Riley-Gillespie have expanded the menu, adding laksa, a spicy coconut soup to the menu. She added that given Riley-Gillespie's experience as a chef, the menu was well constructed to start and hasn't needed any overhauling.

Another new addition to the circuit is Squamish-based Luz Tacos, started by Hector Aragon and Rodrigo Rodriguez.

Serving in Whistler's parks will be one of the brand-new truck's first openings, and Aragon is excited to serve Whistler some authentic Mexican tacos at Lost Lake Park, Lakeside Park and Rainbow Park throughout the summer.

"We get to showcase our food in a beautiful setting, in a really relaxed kind of atmosphere," he said.

With a variety of meat and vegetable tacos, Aragon hopes to bring a light taste of Mexico to the Sea to Sky after Rodriguez has spent years perfecting the recipes.

"It's our passion of showcasing our roots and showing the community what we love the most, and one of the biggest things about our culture is the food," Aragon said. "We think people will be really happy with what we have to offer."

Vancouver-based Aloha Bowls are also set to come up to Whistler in their first year on the scene after opening in March. Owner Bryan Pudney said his family had a weekend residence in Whistler for decades, and the resort is close to his heart.

"Rainbow Lake, Lost Lake, those are lakes I frequent all the time and I thought it would be rad to have a food truck there," he said.

Pudney will be serving acai bowls, smoothies, coffee and snacks to hungry and active park visitors after gaining a base of followers in the Lower Mainland. In addition to being faster, Pudney also hopes to be healthier.

"We couldn't have asked for a better reception in Vancouver and we hope to take that up to Whistler, which we are confident will be just as welcoming for us," he said. "Notoriously, a food truck has been a grease truck, and especially with Whistler being a young, outdoorsy and active environment, we think the product mix that we carry will be perfect.

"This is the kind of food we're after."

Pudney added that he is in discussions with the municipality to install a permanent trailer and serve an expanded slate of offerings four to five days a week starting next summer.The RMOW food truck program starts on June 30 and will run until Sept. 3. For more information, visit www.whistler.ca.

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