Culinary couple on a sweet roll
If 2009 was the year of comfort food and 2010 was the year of the food truck, then the aptly named Cake & Shake is the next evolution. The new mobile vendor serves these two sweet goodies from happily decorated trucks, one each in Washington Square Park and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Astoria residents Derek Hunt, 36, and Gina Ojile, 40, already ran a culinary consulting company together when they decided to hit the streets with their concept. They assembled a business plan, and with a combination of private funding and their own savings, launched the downtown truck in April and the museum location in September.
“It’s to sell cakes and shakes, yes. But this is a really big idea — to prove you can have a sustainable business on any level and be profitable,” said Hunt, a chef who trained at Bouley Bakery.
The trucks operate on solar-powered lights and a bio-diesel generator, and service products are made from recycled or biodegradable materials. While most ingredients — eggs, milk, butter and sugar — are organic, Hunt said they want to make wholesome food fun rather than the other way around.
“I like the subtle surprises in food, like when you were a kid and your mom put a Twinkie in your lunchbox,” he said.
The cupcake menu rotates monthly offering six sweet and savory varieties at a time. All cakes have three components: base, filling and a special frosted top. Sweet cakes have mousse or pastry cream and the savory cakes might encase ingredients such as chili and chicken in a corncake. The shakes include exotic ingredients such as Madagascar vanilla or Arabic espresso.
On track with their projections so far, the cooking couple hope to open two trucks a year. “We hope to take this on a very large scale,” said Ojile. “But the location has to be right.”
Visit cakeandshakeny.com for more information.