Those are the first two words I think of when I hear “Soul Truck”.
Here’s how I ended up on this interview…
I was scrolling through Twitter one day, laughing my ass off at my timeline being wild, (irrational), and out of control as usual. I saw a logo for Soul Truck and was IMMEDIATELY drawn in. First I noticed the green letters and vibrant red background, you couldn’t miss it, I loved that. Then I started to think about the name, Soul… Truck… Soul food? “This is calling me”, I thought.
I clicked the link and started looking around. I saw a really dope themed truck, pictures of GREAT looking food, and raving fans. Usually a combination that makes for some good eats. Sidebar – I’ve eaten at A LOT of places where the food looks good online, but isn’t that great in real life, just more of an Instagram win. That will probably be something I write about one day, but for Soul Truck that is not the case, anyway…
I knew I had to try this food and see who was behind it. I mention this in a lot of posts, but I feel like it’s important to restate more often so here goes….
I do not interview people if the food isn’t good. I do not interview people if the vibe I get from them is not right.
Meaning the food and vibe was on point with Soul Truck fast.
I reached out to the Twitter handle at @soultrucknyc, and asked where they would be the next couple of days, got the info’, worked it into my schedule, and headed to Soul Truck. To my surprise, I got there around 3PM which was considered late! But, that was the day I met Chef Tony Desouza’s father who told me to come through WAY earlier next time. I asked a few opening questions for background, and immediately loved the small part of their story that he told me on that first day. I really hoped the food was good because I was drawn to the story off rip.
I had some free time the week after, and I brought my brother with me who admittedly knows a lot more about food than I do (for now). He’s one of the toughest food critics I know, so it matched the occasion perfectly (it also doesn’t hurt to try more menu items because you’re with someone else). He ordered the curry chicken with rice, and I ordered a “Bless Up Soul” meal which is jerk chicken with rice & peas. I am pausing in my writing as I type this, because I can’t find the words that can accurately describe how delicious it was. Although the jerk chicken was spicy, it had a distinctively sweet “kick” to it. The rice was cooked perfectly, and of course, I tried a few pieces of my brothers curry chicken which was also amazing. Flavorful but also not too heavy which is huge for me, personally. After that meal, and the small part of their story that I did know, I really wanted the interview.
I’m about to fast forward a little bit, but I approached the truck, went back and forth with Chef Desouza, and now this post is here…
This story is special to me
For my fourth story, I got to interview Chef Tony DeSouza who’s the co-owner and head chef of Soul Truck.
This was a special story for me to capture because I believe that Tony and I come from worlds that parallel in a way. In a world where cooking, writing, & reporting on food is predominantly white, he is in the rare space of being a proud and prominent black chef. Oh, and did I mention that he’s just 26 years old?
Chef Desouza started from the bottom. As a kid who was addicted to watching the Food Network, he always knew he wanted to be a chef. He went to one culinary school and things didn’t go as planned, so he went to a second school and finished up. Then, after working very long days and night for years, he saved up enough money to open up SOUL TRUCK with his father as his business partner. This story is more than one about a food truck opening. This is someone’s childhood dreams and thoughts manifested into real life. Manifested into something that has started a family business and partnership which is dope.
Chef DeSouza serves up food with the most nonchalant style, while doing the work of 2 – 3 chefs and making it all look easy in the process. While I was shooting for this interview, customers kept coming by talking about how much they loved the food at Soul Truck. I kept hearing things like “everything is good”, “everything is so fresh”, “they use the best ingredients”, “the chef is talented”, and “I would eat here every day if they were here every day”.
Chef Desouza switches up his menu daily like he’s simply switching outfits. During the summer, he likes to serve light meals that customers can pick up and eat while walking or during a quick stop, and I can personally say that he kills this. During the day of the interview, I ate a chopped bbq chicken po’ boy that was on the menu (I also recently wrote about the history of the po’ boy here). It was PERFECT for a summer day. The bread was very light, and the ingredients weren’t packed on too heavy or too oily. After finishing the sandwich, I felt like I could go on a 5 mile run if I had to with no problem. I hate cold weather, but I’m excited for when it’s around so that I can try the winter meals.
Now, you’re probably thinking something like “I wonder if I should try it”, and the answer depends on how much you like soul food. If you can enjoy good, fresh, wholesome cooking from the soul, then your life is INCOMPLETE until you try out Soul Truck. If you’re not a fan of good, fresh, & wholesome food, then this might not be the spot for you! ha ha.
HUGE thank you to Chef Desouza and his father. All I can say is the hype is growing fast and I’m glad I caught them early enough. In the future, I hope to see a Soul Truck restaurant so that I can order winter meals when I’m feeling extra greedy during the summer.
See you next story,