Toronto, CAN: A Food Truck Fit for a Wedding Reception

Toronto bride Amy Jeninga and her spouse Kieran Roy put in an order at deli czar Zane Caplansky's food truck at their Prince Edward County wedding this past July. Derek Branscombe and Sara Collaton photos
By Mary Luz Mejia | The Star
Toronto bride Amy Jeninga and her spouse Kieran Roy put in an order at deli czar Zane Caplansky's food truck at their Prince Edward County wedding this past July. Derek Branscombe and Sara Collaton photos

Raiana Hummel and Cameron Schwenker’s wedding reception will be a black-tie formal with a twist. The bride will wear white and the August, 2012, event will be held under a tent at a private estate, with the couple planning to surprise their 250 guests with a suite of midnight snacks delivered by a food truck.

At 11:30 p.m., Australian-born chef Adam Hynam-Smith and his Canadian partner Tamara Jensen will drive their El Gastronomo Vagabundo truck up to the couple’s marquee tent in the Niagara region and serve guests Korean barbecue ribs and gourmet tacos.

Hummel’s mother first read about the food truck in a magazine, prompting the young couple to find them at a local market. One bite of the fine nosh and they were smitten. The 20-year-old bride-to-be works in real estate and her 24-year-old fiancé is a medical-school student hopeful who both reside in the Niagara region and love gourmet fare. While guests are encouraged to go extremely formal, the food truck will lend the evening a more relaxed air. “Best of both worlds!” says Hummel.

Food-truck culture in the GTA is still in its infancy but for the past few years, couples wanting to add the unexpected to their something borrowed, something blue, have been turning to the staple of cities like Los Angeles and New York City.

Part of our lag time, according to Food Truck Festival organizer Suresh Doss, has to do with securing a vendor permit to sell food on public property. “That is the difficult part, especially if you want to sell fresh, made-to-order food,” says Doss, Those selling pre-packaged, pre-cooked items that solely need reheating or “low-risk” snacks like fries, are more likely to secure a vendor permit, says Doss.

This is, in part, why food trucks pulling up to private property events are becoming increasingly popular. If they have their business and health department licences, they’re good to go.

Wedding planner Amy Miller recommends food-truck fare for wedding receptions to clients because traditional catering companies often cost 30 per cent to 50 per cent more and the food often “isn’t as exciting.”

“For about $12 per person, guests have two choices and can come back to the truck for seconds,” says Hummel. “It’s incredibly convenient; the truck comes, and then it leaves — there is no cleanup or labour involved for us, or anything for us to worry about!”

Jensen of El Gastronomo Vagabundo says prices vary depending on the menu and travel from their Niagara home base. A dinner menu of two types of tacos, salad, a barbecue item, home-brewed iced tea and a fruit granita costs $30 per person plus tax.

“Use of local food and that intimate touch,” are other benefits, says Miller.

Newly engaged wedding photographer Mandie Charlton, 29, agrees.

“I eat traditional wedding fare every weekend, it’s always the same thing. For our engagement party we really wanted food that reflected us and incorporated our love of wine and the place that we’ll be getting married at in the menu.”

This is why she, and fiancé Brad Smith, 28, a licensed electrician from Beamsville, Ont., will be hiring El Gastronomo for their August 2012 wedding at nearby Flat Rock Cellars.

For their engagement party, the couple contracted El Gastronomo to create a light dinner of shrimp dumplings, Flat Rock Cellars icewine-infused pulled pork on a croissant, watermelon with feta wrapped in prosciutto and bacon and eggs with homemade ketchup.

Guest Kelly Woudstra loved the concept. “The food was so original and delicious! Such a unique way to cater an event!”

It’s this sense of nostalgia for favourite edibles that steered Amy Jeninga, 29, and Kieran Roy, 35, both music industry managers, to hire deli czar Zane Caplansky and his food truck for their July wedding in Prince Edward County. .

“We share a mutual love of deep fried food,” says Jeninga, who has been known to assemble various versions of poutine in far-flung restaurants, including on vacation in Mexico. There, she “built” her own using French fries, nacho gravy and chorizo sausage, to which the waiter remarked, “You must be Canadian.”

At their wedding, they offered guests a full dinner menu including Caplansky’s slow-smoked pork ribs, smoked meat sandwiches, mac and cheese, deep fried pickles and late-night, traditional poutine.

“I’m thrilled Zane was able to provide this great sense of nostalgia and fantastic food at our wedding. It really was a pillar in making our wedding day unique and memorable for us and our guests,” says Jeninga.

Truckin’ treats

There is a food truck to suit every occasion. Here are others found in the GTA to whet the appetite:

• Tiny Tom Donutmobile ( — A Toronto classic, the on-site Donutmobile is available for street festivals, corporate functions and weddings. Creator Tom Brazier’s son Adam, 37, recently married his wife Melissa at the Steam Whistle Brewery building in Toronto and served the bite-size doughnuts as take-away, edible mementoes for guests.

• Cupcake Diner ( — Based out of Hamilton, Ont., gourmet cupcakes are the crowd pleasers here. Regular or mini cupcakes served out of the pink truck are the winning choice for many sweet-toothed couples.

• Smoke’s Poutinerie ( — Fries, gravy and curds with seemingly endless seasonings and accoutrements is the name of the game. The new Smoke’s Poutinerie trucks dish out poutine topped with pulled pork, chicken or the traditional way until you say uncle.

• Bonfire Catering Pizza Truck ( — Newmarket, Ont.-based wood-fire burning kitchen on wheels whips up gourmet blistered pizzas like Nonna would make.–a-food-truck-fit-for-a-wedding-reception