John Butt, manager of The Hungry Nomad, offers hearty, sustainable food at Canada’s first university-run food truck. Photo: Martin Dee
UBC serves up Canada’s first university-run food truck
Earlier this summer The Hungry Nomad rolled up on UBC’s East Mall.
Canada’s first university food truck offers a slew of hot and meaty sandwiches including pulled pork, deep-fried cod and natural Angus beef brisket for $7 to $8.
“We thought a food truck would be an interesting way to introduce different foods to campus,” says manager John Butt. “We’re offering large portions of food at a good price, all with a focus on sustainable product.”
And fitting to the Hungry Nomad name, it’s a menu that could be on the move.
“We can change the menu as the seasons change. In the winter, we can go to a nice, hearty bread bowl stew or feature some of the winter vegetables coming from UBC Farm in a nice chili,” says Loriann McGowan, director of UBC Food Services.
Getting in on the food truck boom
With a permanent spot secured at the core of campus–East Mall and University Boulevard—UBC is set to add to Vancouver’s nascent street food scene, which features more than 100 licensed operators.
“We wanted to create a food truck culture on campus, but knew it’d have to be created internally,” says Andrew Parr, the managing director of student housing and hospitality. Union rules prevent a private company from bringing their food truck business on campus.
“There’s an element missing on campus that the outside community can’t provide, so we look to Food Services to fill that gap,” says Parr.
Plans to keep on truckin’
The food truck is the result of a year-and-a-half of planning by UBC Food Services, which purchased and outfitted the truck last fall. Its eye-catching design subtly references the campus, including the Ladner Clock Tower and the nature and animals of the West Coast.
“We wanted to keep the design very generic,” McGowan explains. “It picks up on the transient idea of not being tied to a spot as we’ll definitely be using the truck for catering events, construction sites and different venues we’re not servicing.”
Plans for more than one truck are already underway. The Hungry Nomad team says they’ll assess the viability of green-lighting more trucks in the fall, expecting business to boom when students go back to class.
For now, the Hungry Nomad is keeping a low profile.
“We’ll see how this one goes first, but everyone loves food trucks,” says Butt.