May 12 2015

Food Truck Is ‘Fired Up’ For Its Second Year At Our Farmers’ Market

10882165_916327391712005_852501715642546906_nMarc Viscomi has a passion for food, farms, and family — making him a perfect fit for the Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers’ Market.

The executive chef of the Fired Up Flatbread Co. food truck will return for his second, and the Land Trust’s ninth, Farmers’ Market season on Sunday, May 17.  His constant goal is to demonstrate how local food tastes better by creating fabulous meals — including breakfast and lunch pizzas — around local ingredients provided by the market’s farmers.

Pizza toppings vary from the traditional to the unique: roasted tomatoes, chorizo, quail eggs, maple sweet yak sausage might be found on any given Sunday nestled comfortably atop his tasty flatbread. You’ll also find breakfast treats like sticky buns, local berry muffins, scones and coffee.

“People have lost touch with what they eat, believing that eating healthy and fresh food takes too much time and effort,” Viscomi said. “They turn to processed foods out of convenience. The Fired Up Flatbread Co. has a goal to reconnect people with their food; to remind them that nutritious, real food can taste amazing! When people taste this fresh, local and healthy ‘fast’ food, they will be encouraged to bring these local ingredients home and nurture their relationship with what they eat.”

Viscomi is a classically trained French chef, who was graduated from the French Culinary Institute in 1997, where he trained under the tutelage of several influential French chefs including Jacques Pepin and Andre Soltner. Upon graduating, he embarked on a career as a line cook at City Wine and Cigar Company in Manhattan, which was part of the Myriad Restaurant Group that owned some of NYC’s most elite eateries including Nobu and Tribeca Grill. From there, Viscomi became a sous-chef at Laight Street, a seafood restaurant in Tribeca. Finally, he went on to help open Dylan Prime (Tribeca, NYC), where he served as a sous-chef and executive chef. He created menus featuring “new American comfort food” and received warm reviews from The New York Times Food Critic.

New York’s hectic pace spurred Viscomi to seek a simpler lifestyle reminiscent of his Sussex County upbringing, and led him to relocate to Hunterdon County.

Marc Viscomi inside food truckAlthough Viscomi stepped away from the kitchen to work in the technological and financially industry, his passion for food never waned. If anything, being surrounded by the bounty of produce offered by Hunterdon County’s farms fueled his desire to cook for others. Viscomi realized he was continually inspired by the seasonal offerings he was harvesting from his garden or picking up from his CSA boxes.  He also noticed that the meat he was using from the farm down the road was far superior to that purchased at the grocery store.  It was clear to Viscomi that not only was Hunterdon County beautiful, it was delicious!

After several years of planning, Viscomi finally decided to share his extraordinary cooking skills and his discovery that fresh, local foods taste better and are better for you. Gourmet food trucks were becoming increasingly popular in many U.S. cities and allowed thousands of people to easily taste new dishes in a convenient, affordable way.

Viscomi found the perfect solution by creating a mobile, upscale eatery offering seasonal, local food. He found an old Snap-On Tool truck in Vermont and transported it to Philadelphia. He had an oven imported from northern Italy and assembled in California fitted into the truck along with all the other necessary equipment. The truck can hold ingredients to make about 500 pizzas.

The Hunterdon Land Trust put Viscomi into contact with several local farms.  He created seasonal menus showcasing farm-fresh ingredients with the hope that his customers would not only enjoy his food, but would also be inspired to use these same ingredients at home.

Viscomi says word of mouth has helped his business grow in the year since the food truck first rolled onto the scene, and he anticipates attending 30 events this year. He also attributes the food truck’s success to his family – his wife, Alicia, and daughters, Olivia and Gabby – who you can often find at the Farmers’ Market helping out.

This year, Viscomi is planning a few new touches to his menu, and is looking into adding some gluten-free items this year. The focus, however, will always be on using the best tasting, farm-fresh produce available.

“Too many people have begun to lose touch with their food,” Viscomi said. “They think it magically shows up on a shelf, in a box, or on a plate.  A mobile, farm-to-table restaurant is the perfect way to reintroduce people to the home-grown bounty right in their backyard.”

The Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers’ Market is held every Sunday from May 17 to Nov. 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Dvoor Farm, 111 Mine St. in Raritan Township. You can also find Fired Up’s Flatbread Co.’s on Facebook.

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