SWAPPING GIGS: Learning to run the Jam Pan food truck - WDRB 41 Louisville News

SWAPPING GIGS: Learning to run the Jam Pan food truck

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - Louisville's food truck scene continues to grow.  WDRB's Sterling Riggs swapped gigs with the owner of Jam Pan to find out what it takes to run a business on four wheels.

If you find yourself within a few block radius of Dirk Woods' jerk chicken food truck, and you will catch a whiff of his aroma advertising. "The Colonel is not the only one with some secrets in Kentucky," said Woods.

Dirk and his wife Lisa own and operate Louisville's Jam Pan tuck. Dirk's personality is about as spicy as his product on the rack. Let's get the obvious out of the way.  "So you are Jamaican right?" said Riggs. "No man, I was born and grown near in Cleveland, Ohio. But I've spent a lot of time in Jamaica the past decade living, working, and vacationing," said Woods.

Nationality aside, he sure can cook on the pan like a Jamaican.  He gains street credit one customer and bite at a time. Here's what Dirk's first customer of the day said about his food. "I'll give it an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10."

So how does one break into this business? Dirk used to work for KFC Yum! Brands in Jamaica with the International product group.  That's when he and Lisa fell in love with the people, culture and food. That passion pushed the couple into buying this old postal service truck.  It's now a kitchen on wheels.

I put on an apron and quickly learned that this food truck stuff is no cruise down leisure lane.

Dirk starts marinating the chicken several days in advance of an event. He works long hours to make sure his product is perfect and tickles the palette. He's part chef, accountant, plumber and janitor. He offered this advice to aspiring truck owners.

"Have a defined concept. It's not a great idea to be everything to everybody. Selling corndogs and duck fat fries out of the same truck is not a good idea.  Also have some money in savings to make it through the winter," said Woods.

After a day on the truck, I think I'll stick to my specialty of tasting.  I'll leave the hard work up to the experts.

For a list of events Dirk will be selling Caribbean Jerk Chicken, CLICK HERE.

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