Yes it’s here, we are finally in the midst of festival season. With it comes an endless amount of music, dancing, debauchery and foooood! This past June we had the culinary pleasure of meeting the cool cats John and Heather at Faux Real. They were one of 3 food vendors at Sync Fest, and happened to be some of the freshest and tastiest fare that we’ve ever eaten at an outdoor music festival. Dishing up Saigon Subs, pickled watermelon and Far East Chowder. So despite the name there is nothing fake or artificial about their food. I recently had the oppurtunity to chat with them about their culinary adventures.
AYNiB: So, we met you back in June at Sync fest, did you end up having a really good experience there?
J: Yeah Sync was the first one, the first time we had actually ever set the truck up and done everything.Alot of the menu I had tried out at a restaurant at the year before that. But that was the first time we had done the full service. It was the first time Heather had ever done the service. She had never done work in the service industry before so it was a great little way to start it out. Will (one of the partners at Sync Festival) is awesome he was great. We ended up have a great chat with will after the festival.
AYNiB: So you had previous work experience within the food industry prior to Faux Real?
J: Yeah, cooking in restaurants. When I was a kid I worked in restaurants and the last couple years I had been doing it again.
AYNiB:Heather you have a business degree, you have been described as the business whiz of the partnership?
H: Yes this is me putting it into effect. It really has been great.
J: The whole thing couldn’t have worked at all without her, becaues originally I thought it would be a bit of cooking and some driving. But the other side of it, the paperwork, the sheer amount of fucking everything else that I am not good at, I am just not good at that stuff. It has been great, I wouldn’t have been able to do it by myself.
AYNiB: What got you started, when did you decide ” I am going to open a food truck”.
H: It was your idea (John)
J: I made noodles one night, I stayed up really late and was out of it a little bit, I had the basics to put noodles together. and I did it in just a seconds without thinking about it. That was when I realized that this was what I really wanted to eat, Noodles. It came from there. Then the name came about after that , it seemed to really solidify. We call it Faux because we are white, obviously and it is non traditional Pho. Its kind of how we are putting it. We get alot of people who have been to Vietnam who are like its pronounced Fa. The Vietnamese comped that dish from the French, it was “Pot-au-feu” which means “pot on the fire” and it likely developed. So they have actually not been cooking it for all that long either. We have been just letting people know that it is a non traditional Pho at festivals.
AYNiB: So, what have you been up to since we last saw you in June?
H: We were just at North Country Fair and Fozzy Fest outside of Calgary.We were the only food vendor at Fozzy Fest. It was pretty crazy. Then we went and did Astral Harvest
AYNiB: Did you find there was a difference between working the different festivals?
J: At Astral Harvest people are definitely out more at night so eating later into the night. North Country Fair is like a dad-rock festival, so some people are drunk and in bed by 2:00 but past that not really.
AYNiB: So, have you discovered any challenges with running a truck at all night festivals?
J: For us we haven’t had any staff, so for Motion Notion we have a fellow I have been cooking with for a year that we are going to have come out and cook with us. For North Country Fair we had Heather’s sister come up with us. We have been way understaffed. At the start its slow, but then come saturday evening and sunday morning we can’t keep up with the demand that is going on. So it will be good to be able to staff up and keep going later after 12-15 hour shifts of going hard.
AYNiB: Especially with it just being the two of you manning the entire operation, at the same time.
J: I am used to the last two years of being in a restaurant where I have a had one or two assitants and a dishwasher to throw things at. It’s just been really different. It’s not like that in there, It’s a tight space just Heather and I, limited water.
AYNiB: So how did you decide on the menu, it’s smaller than what I have seen at some festivals but it’s really concise.
J: It’s all a take on asian. It all really clicked for me a couple years ago when I was experimenting with sweet, savory, salty and hot. Flavor wise if you think about your dish like that was some really nice texture , it usually will come out really pleasing. That’s really how we came out with our menu with our nod to the east.
AYNiB: It’s great because I really noticed that your menu though smaller that what we have seen, you have made this really good connection between quality over quantity. I know food trucks have sometimes been synonymous with greasy unhealthy food but you are really raising the bar with quality in small numbers.
The delicious Saigon Sub
J: I always have this thing in a restaurant that if you go in and the menu is bigger than 1 sheet of A4 you are probably in the wrong place. For me anyways I want to eat at a place with less dishes. How can you really make 50 amazing dishes, even with a big staff. That seems crazy. I always want to have the best to offer, we want to be putting our best food forward all the time.
AYNiB: Where do you source your ingredients from?
H: So, our wheat comes from a small grain farm in Vulcan, Alberta….it’s organic and unbleached. We buy free range, antibiotic and hormone free meat from local farms. We buy local produce and we try to get as many organic ingredients as possible
AYNiB: What is the biggest challenge you have found. Have you had any so far, perhaps had to deal with any crazies.
J: I mean it has been so entertaining, and colorful. We haven’t had anyone trying to being to super fried or anything. Quite entertaining as the night goes on. The weather has been pretty good, the only really big thing that happened was at Astral Harvest, when we got heat stroke. It usually takes us about 5 or 6 hours to clean up the trailer. It was so crazy hot. We just had to lay around for the next couple days.
H: Yeah we were out for quite a few days after that. It was close to 35 degrees up there near Driftpile in Slave Lake.
J: It also gets way harder with being inside the trailer. It’s just a giant aluminum oven.
AYNiB: So what does the rest of your schedule look like?
J: Our last stop we are doing a food festival out in West Vancouver in the start of August, but that is the last planned event for this year. We are going to asess what we are going to do, whether we store the trailer for the winter and then bring it back in the summer. Or look at doing some movie and commercial catering. We are doing Motion Notion and will be hitting up the Calgary Folk Fest, which we have heard is awesome.
AYNiB: And lastly for the music fans out there do you have a favorite artist?
H & J: Oh thats a hard one, really hard… At Sync we were really excited to check out Yan ( Yan-Zombie) for a really long time. Nice guy back when he was just Ian Gordon. I don’t know if we have a favorite though. We heard An-ten-ae at Sync as well….the speakers at Sync were awesome actually.
AYNiB: Yep that would be the PK haha.
J: That was amazing that they had that there.
AYNiB: I would totally agree, for such an intimate smaller event the setup was pretty killer.
J: A hanging array at a fucking small festival is great. It’s the greatest sound we have heard so far.
AYNiB: I really hope that we see you at Shambhala next year as well.
H: Oh yeah that is the goal.
J: It was actually a blessing this year that we didn’t end up going. just seeing everything it takes. I just don’t think we would have been ready this year. So it has been a great progression. Now we are going to have our two biggest events in the next two weeks.
AYNiB: Again thank you so much for taking some time to chat with All You Need is Bass and we will see you in the future!
Faux Real just finished up Motion Notion and Calgary Folk fest this past week. Next up they will be at the Harmony Arts Festival from August 3-12 in BC.