Should I be at all surprised that the first question a Canadian asks about Albuquerque is about Breaking Bad?
Of course not.
"I frickin' love that show."
Besides being a Breaking Bad fan, James Cunningham is also the host of Eat St., a Cooking Channel show dedicated to sharing food trucks from all across North America. I had a chance to chat with him today about food trucks, the Eat St. cookbook, the current season, and about the trucks here in Albuquerque.
The first thing I wanted to confirm, simply for its irony, is that James can't cook.
"I can't cook to save my life and I admit that in the first few paragraphs of the book."
The book he's referring to is Eat St.: Recipes from the Tastiest, Messiest, and Most Irresistible Food Trucks.
James may not be able to replicate the delicious dishes in the book, but he makes up for it in other ways. He's a comedian by nature (I assume it's his Canadian nature) so he brings the element of humor with him to the show. I asked about some of the funnier food truck names he's encountered and he rattled off a plethora of pun-based truck names, including Swede Dish, Grillenium Falcon, Truck Norris, and NaanStop.
As James puts it, "If you have a food truck, you are a master of puns."
With three seasons already under their belt, Eat St. has come out with a companion cookbook, sharing recipes from food trucks all over North America.
They found that viewers were trying to replicate dishes they saw on the show in their own kitchens, but without cooking times, temperatures, or complete ingredient lists, it wasn't working out. So Eat St. put a call out to food truck owners, asking them to send in a recipe or two they'd like to share.
"We were literally inundated with all our trucks sending in three or four recipes," said James. "So we went through them and chose the best ones and put them in the book. We have 125 recipes from some of our top trucks."
James was especially impressed that the owners wanted to give their recipes free of charge, simply because they wanted to "make people happy."
"We find these passionate foodies who just love what they do and the common denominator we hear time and time again is 'I opened the food truck because I want to make people happy.' We hear that over and over again."
Citing the downturn in the economy around 2008, James explains how out-of-work chefs opted to hit the streets with their own mobile food operations.
"The trucks match the personalities of these food truck owners and the way they're marketing themselves is pretty cool. It's all this new stuff that never really existed before."
Currently on their fourth season, James says he encounters owners who didn't even have a truck back when Eat St. first started airing.
"It's funny because the show is really coming full circle now. The show has actually inspired people to open food trucks and now they're on the show. It's really kind of cool that way."
The fourth season of Eat St. is on the air now. It's a double season, covering over one hundred food trucks through 26 episodes. Between those and the previous three seasons, there's a bounty of great finds--but they still haven't been down to Albuquerque!
I told him all about the awesome trucks we have and asked what it would take to get Eat St. to come down here. He suggested sending in feedback to Cooking Channel, telling them about the trucks in Albuquerque and asking that the show be renewed for a fifth season.
I took the liberty of finding the contact page on their website for you: http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/site/contact-us.html
Send in your feedback so James and the Eat St. crew can keep on exploring the best food trucks in North America and hopefully the ones here in Albuquerque, too!