Now a Vancouver weekend favorite, Food Cart Fest has become a gathering of over 20 of the city’s top Food Carts presented by Vancity, Arrival Agency and The Streetfood Vancouver Society. Every Sunday in the Summer at Olympic Village, Vancouverites sample delicious food offerings & more complemented by community markets, live music, DJs, craft food vendors, kids activities, ping pong, urban gardening and more. Always free to Vancity and Car2go members, this year has also become free with a non-perishable food donation to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society. We caught up with Arrival Agency and Food Cart Fest co-founder Ernesto Gomez to discuss the inception & changes of this unique summer event which wraps up at the end of the month;
How did the birth of Arrival Agency inspire food cart fest with its cultural identity?
Street food culture in Vancouver is an expression of our diversity and identity. For a long time street food was neglected in our city an as the program was created Arrival identified that there was the need to create a platform where both Food Carts and people would have a space to interact, to get their products known and to simply have a fun family event. Food Cart Fest is a gathering of the city’s best food carts/trucks who not only offer great quality in their products but that are also progressive businesses with solid ethics.
Food carts are known for being transient to customer demand. What was the idea to have them allocated in one location?
Most people are busy with their everyday lives and have a hard time trying all the amazing food cart options in the city or don’t know their exact locations. Food Cart Fest gives people the opportunity to try all the different options at one site and to share with family and friends.
What are some new food carts you’ve featured for this summer season so far?
Yolk’s, Dougie Dog, Tacofino, Mogu, Guanaco, Blue Smoke BBQ, etc.
(Photo Gallery Cred via Lindsay’s Diet)
Which food cart were you most surprised by its popularity at last years launch?
We launched Food Cart Fest three years ago and all the food carts/trucks were super popular. For sure The Juice Truck, Mom’s Grilled Cheese, Holy Perogi, Kaboombox, Feastro and Soho Road were some of the very popular ones the first year.
How does Vancouver inspire the identity and selection of food cart choices?
Vancouver is a multi ethnic and multi cultural City. Its great to see that every culture is represented in the festival; It is truly an expression of our City’s identity. Our criteria is based on quality, taste, sustainability, and aesthetic. For us it is super important that our event is 0 waste. This year with new partnerships like Vancity, Recycling Alternative and Green Chair we are achieving this mission.
After owning and operating a successful restaurant in Gastown, what were some of the unexpected challenges in launching this summer event?
The challenges facing the Food Truck’s in Vancouver are no different to those of my restaurants. Location, quality, consistency, the right formula and being able to operate efficiently are a must. What some people don’t realize is that running a profitable food/beverage operation in this City while offering good quality products, offering good working conditions to staff and being environmentally friendly have a cost. Most of the trucks of our city have done a tremendous effort to have a very high standard, so its important to raise awareness that when customers pay for a meal they are paying for businesses with a solid mission. Street Food Vancouver, Nuba and Food Cart Fest have a very high standard as we strive to provide value by offering the best quality products at an affordable price as opposed to cheap products at a cheap price.
Anything new from this year’s edition so far of Food Cart Fest that was different from last summer?
Lots of food, fun and sun complemented by community markets, live music, DJs, craft food vendors, kids activities, ping pong, urban gardening workshops and much more. Also we are very happy that this year we extend to Surrey, which just launched the Food Truck program this summer.
Food Cart Fest wraps up on Sunday, August 31st from Noon-5PM @ 215 West 1st Avenue (Between the Cambie Bridge and Olympic Village).