Day two of On The Line asks the thought provoking questions to BACON MANia’s Jay DiEugenio. Advice is dished, lessons are learned, and we get a better understanding of why they have guy groupies. To catch up on part one, click over here. Stay tuned for our final installment on Thursday, where Jay shares the secret to a dish that may must include bacon.
Hardest lesson you’ve learned:
Sometimes I am wrong.
What would your last meal on Earth be?
BACON! Or my mom’s homemade spaghetti and pan fried chicken! Something about when I was a kid just bonded me with those two flavors for life. I can taste them right now in my memory. No one makes those better than MOM!
Who’s your hero, culinary or otherwise?
The Silver Surfer is my comic book hero, but I would have to say Barry Bonds. Ha!
Seriously, EVERY truck owner out there who took the risk and went out and kicked some butt to deliver awesome food from a food truck! My admiration and support goes out to all my fellow truck peeps!
When you were creating the menu, were there any pairings that didn’t make the cut?
Not really. Losers basically evolved until they became winners, and sometimes they still continue to get better. We listen to our customers, and have the flexibility to be able to incorporate their ideas and suggestions – immediately!
Tell us about this magical bacon.
In all my years and miles of culinary travels, I’ve learned that BACON is the all-American flavor enhancer. Across the country, I’ve found bacon being used in so many ways (some surprising!) to make regional favorites even better. So naturally, I’ve incorporated different kinds of bacon into all my dishes.
What motivated you to open a bacon-centric food truck?
Well, I’ve always wanted to open a brick and mortar restaurant with my wife. With this food truck phenomenon emerging in the OC, it seemed a good time to take a first step. AND it offered us the freedom to get really high concept. While it would be pretty risky to open a restaurant that was all about bacon, we believe the more narrowly focused a truck is, the better.
As bacon-lovers ourselves, we counted on the legions of baconophiles to embrace our new truck concept. And as expected, they have. We love the challenge and we especially love the people. The truck allows us to bring our food to all of OC, not just to those who happen by.
What is the biggest misconception you think Americans have about bacon? One stereotype is that it shouldn’t be paired with anything besides breakfast food.
I think the biggest misconception that people have is they think bacon is bad for you???? They say bacon is bad for your heart? I say it’s GOOD for your SOUL! Did you know that bacon is actually being used by progressive nursing homes as a therapy for Alzheimer’s patients? I’m not kidding. Look it up.
Even though you classify your cuisine as “man-food”, how has the response been by female customers?
Chicks DIG the PIG! We actually have a small band of groupie guys who hang around the truck cuz they say that, “Bacon attracts the ladies.”
What dish would you tell newcomers to BACON MANia to try first?
We always tell newcomers to try the Bacon Ball Trio. It’s a little sampler, and is pretty adventurous. The kinda thing you can go to work and tell your friends about.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in this business?
Sleeping a whole lot more!
What advice do you have for those who might be thinking about a career in food?
Don’t get into this game unless you want to work hard for every dime. It’s definitely not for people who want to just punch a clock and collect a paycheck.
What do you see yourself doing in five years? Ten years?
The goal is to move into a more stationary establishment. Something with a kitchen that doesn’t fall on top of you when you drive down the street! And somewhere I can serve beer. In ten years, I’d like to be sitting at the bar in that place enjoying a cold one and some tasty eats with friends while my boys work their butts off. Yeah, that works for me!