A quick Q&A with Felipe, the Chef of our new food truck – Rapscallion Mobile Kitchen, which perches outside our brewery in Sturbridge, serving food Thursday through Sunday (hours & menu here):
What is the first thing you ever cooked?
There’s a common Brazilian dish made of leftovers such as rice, beans, steak and chicken. It was the perfect thing to cook up when your parents weren’t home or as a late night meal after a night out, and was the first thing I learned to make.
Tell us about a learning experience you had as a chef.
When my fiancée Cheryl owned The Oregon Club in Ashland, MA, we made a flan one night that split and couldn’t be served. Our solution was to add blackberry sauce, top it with amaretto whipped cream and serve it with fresh fruit in a martini glass. It was a hit. I learned that improvising is very important as a chef.
How does your Brazilian upbringing influence your cooking?
Brazilian food is all about bold flavors and fresh ingredients, so I’m always looking to spice things up. I’ve picked up other influences along the way, such as Caribbean influences from working with my fiancée who traveled there extensively, and Italian influences from my time working in Southern Florida.
What do you enjoy about operating the food truck?
I’ve worked in every facet of the restaurant industry except in a food truck, so it has been a fun new challenge.
Are there any signature “Felipe” items on the menu?
My favorite menu item so far is the BBQ bourbon marinated steak tips with truffle fries. The marinade is my own recipe, a unique mix of bourbon and spices, making for tender and flavorful bites. The hot sauce is also my recipe, made with six different kinds of Brazilian peppers. And the fruit punch is my recipe as well: a blend of guava, mango, pineapple, Concord grape, caju fruit and passionfruit juices (the rest of the ingredients are secret).
Do you enjoy working in Sturbridge?
It reminds me of growing up in Brazil. I grew up on a farm and was raised on homecooking. Game dinners were very common there as well.
What do you envision for the future of the food truck?
I hope to continue to cook from scratch, changing the menu seasonally and utilizing local farms and vendors to keep things as fresh as possible.
Pictured: The Brazilian Burger – topped with sausage, bacon, a fried egg and special sauce.