By JANIE SMITH | Auckland Stuff.co.nz
Owning and running an award-winning restaurant would be a big enough job for most people, but Michael van de Elzen has added a television show, a charity event and a new baby to the mix.
The chef and owner of Molten Restaurant and Liquid Molten Bar in Mt Eden stars in The Food Truck which hits screens on Sunday night – a show which sees him cooking up healthier versions of fast food in the back of a 1970 Bedford truck and selling it to the public.
Filming wrapped up a month ago and Mr van de Elzen says it was a “pretty full-on five months”.
Along with the usual Christmas rush, he organised a charity luncheon for Christchurch that raised $100,000 and welcomed baby Hazel to the family.
“There were moments when it was quite difficult but I’ve got really good staff at work who knew how much pressure I was under.”
The show covers the summer period with the food truck, which is kitted out with a domestic kitchen, visiting sites around Auckland and places further afield like Whangamata.
It’s the first television show he’s fronted and he’ll be seeing the finished product for the first time when it screens on Sunday, after choosing not to watch it in advance.
“It’s quite exciting. It’s a family show so there’s nothing too Gordon Ramsay.”
He says 80 percent of the time he cooked alone but for some of the bigger events he enlisted the help of the Molten chefs.
The idea is to give people alternative options to traditional takeaways.
“We’re not trying to recreate the wheel, we’re not saying don’t go out and have takeaways.
“We’re saying there’s another option. If I can make these things in the back of the food truck in the same amount of time it takes the fast food giants, people can make it at home.”
Mr van de Elzen researched the different fast foods available then came up with his own healthier versions, making them in the truck’s kitchen and selling them.
“Sometimes it worked amazingly well and sometimes it was a complete disaster.”
He says having to make money from his creations gives the project credibility.
“It’s been great, I really hope the show is well-received. We’re not trying to be hypocrites and say all fast food is bad, because it’s not.”
He says the idea is to encourage people to make food at home rather than eating fast food three or four times a week.
The Food Show screens on Sundays at 7pm on TV One.