Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A glimpse into the life of . . .

                      BRENNAN SUMMERS
Brennan with his newly-purchased, unfinished truck!
Follow your passion. What a great notion.
It's so great, in fact, that it scares most of us off from even trying. Which is why it's always refreshing to find a brave and inspirational soul who just goes for it. 

Enter Brennan Summers. I met Brennan a few years ago while working at the same hotel. With a bachelor’s degree in music theory and composition, and a master’s degree in business management, it was clear he had a wide range of passions. One stood out above the rest, and it's an especially exciting one to me since I share it: food. 

An eating and cooking fanatic, he left his job a little over a year ago and has been managing a food truck here in Minneapolis. He recently purchased a truck of his own and will be starting his food truck business - A Moveable Feast - in Michigan this spring! How did he find the courage to begin this journey? What will he serve? Read on to find out!

Current profession: Food truck owner

First job ever: Clerk at a small, hometown drug store

First job after graduating/first 'grown up' job: Recruiter for the university I attended

Dream job: Food truck owner!

What advice would you give someone interested in pursuing the same (or a similar) profession? Be friends with a food truck owner, and convince them to hire you and teach you everything they know about operating a food truck. And read Running a Food Truck for Dummies (seriously).

What motivated you to pursue the food truck industry? I love cooking food for people, and doing it on a food truck allows me to have daily interactions and develop relationships with my customers. What has been the best part about making the switch? I was very unhappy in my last job for a long time but kept doing it because I didn’t think I had any options. Knowing that I’m going after my passion is very satisfying (and scary!).

What has been the biggest obstacle so far? I never would have guessed how many little things are involved in starting your own business, and it can get frustrating sometimes because they all take longer and are way more involved than you expect. It’s like you have to get A, B and C done. But in order to accomplish A, you first have to complete D and E. And in order to get D done, you have to do F, G and H first. And so on and so on. So it’s easy to get discouraged sometimes.

How did you decide on the name? A Moveable Feast is the name of a Hemingway book about his time in Paris in the 1920s, and it seemed like a good name for a food truck given that we’re serving a feast (of sorts) and it’s moveable! 
He also describes Paris as a moveable feast: “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” I would like the experience of eating at my food truck to be pleasantly memorable like that.

What will be your specialties? We’ll be serving primarily sandwiches, wraps, salads and soups. I’m most excited about our Bacon Jam Grilled Cheese, Curried Chicken Salad Wrap and Southwestern Fish Tacos. Oh, and the chocolate chip cookie dough truffle pops. (YUM!)

How long have you been cooking? I didn’t really start cooking enthusiastically until I graduated from college, but when I was a kid, I loved baking with my mom. So I guess you could say the seeds were planted at a young age, but it took a while for them to grow.

Favorite thing to cook/bake/make? My favorite thing to cook right now is a Buttermilk Roasted Chicken recipe that I got from the Smitten Kitchen blog. It is super simple but so delicious. We had it for dinner last night, which is probably why it’s my favorite thing to cook right now. That changes pretty frequently.

What advice do you wish you could give your 20-year-old self, career-related or just in general? It’s okay to not know what you want to be when you “grow up." But don’t miss out on life while you try to figure it out. Enjoy the ride! Who you are is more important than what you do. Just because I give that advice doesn’t mean that I’m good at it myself, though. I still have to work on that every single day.

And the other advice I would give is to follow God. You may not know what you’re going to be when you grow up, but He does. I truly believe that He has a plan for my life, and I’m can only experience true joy by following Him.

Who has been your biggest influence? Definitely my wife. For me, this experience is exciting first and scary second. But for her, I know that it’s scary first and exciting second. Running a food truck is my dream, not hers. But she has been nothing but supportive through this entire process, and I couldn’t do it without her.

What about Minnesota will you miss the most? We really like Minneapolis, and while it’s not a “big city” like New York or
Chicago, we love the big city type amenities it offers (lots of theaters, great restaurants, etc.). Grand Rapids, the city we're
moving to in Michigan, is not small – it has about 200,000 people – and while it does have some of the same amenities, they are not as extensive as here.

What hobbies and activities do you enjoy in your spare time? I like to read, play golf, listen to music and travel.

What is number one on your bucket list? I would like to celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary.

Favorite ice cream flavor: If you had asked me my favorite thing to eat as opposed to cook, ice cream probably would have been my answer. I love it – which is funny, because I didn’t eat it until I was about 10 years old. Can you imagine a kid that doesn’t like ice cream?!? My favorite flavors (sorry, can’t choose just one) are ginger and chocolate chip cookie dough.

Thank you, Brennan, and best of luck to you in Michigan! You deserve it!

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