Driven by a sense of adventure and her love for cooking, Sally Fandrich opened Sal’s Eats, a local food truck that focuses on cuisines found throughout the United States.
The prospect of experiencing the U.S. through food is what inspired Fandrich to pursue this culinary adventure. As she introduces provincial specialties to patrons she invites residents of Lodi to accompany her on her culinary journey bite after bite.
With each appetizing dish Fandrich hopes to transport guests to the Acadian region of New Orleans with her authentic shrimp po’ boys, and through a warm Kentucky summer at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, with her Hot Brown sandwiches, which offer the traditional fusion of flavors introduced by Fred K. Schmidt.
As someone who has not been classically trained, Fandrich was inspired to pursue a career in the food industry after years of watching luminary chefs Anthony Bourdain and Emeril Lagasse recreate dishes that have astonished and satisfied critics around the world.
“People underestimate the caliber of home cooks, but I don’t think people should discount us,” Fandrich said.
She believes what she lacks in technique she makes up for in taste. After years of experimenting with flavors, Fandrich feels she has a repertoire of recipes that are sure to impress any food critic or picky eater.
“I like to research dishes and experiment with the flavors and incorporate different flavor profiles to create a unique taste for every dish,” Fandrich said.
Fandrich’s knack for cooking stems from her mother, who influenced her love for food at a young age.
“My mom used to teach me how to cook when I was four years old, so it’s ingrained in me, it is in my DNA,” Fandrich said.
The decision to finally turn her passion into a career came in September of 2018 when she developed plans for a food truck. She designed it to include a compact commercial kitchen, which was built into a trailer.
“My decision to use a trailer instead of a truck was so that I could maximize space and fully convert the insides so it would replicate a chef’s kitchen,” Fandrich said.
The trailer was built in Florida and features a convection oven, warmers, electric fryers, a flat top, work tables, prep stations and undercounter refrigerators.
The option to use commercial equipment came from Fandrich’s desire to create a self-contained, restaurant-style kitchen that would allow her to cook gourmet meals in a compact space.
“Each menu that I create is unique to the client I am working for, which is why the kitchen is more elaborate than most standard food trucks,” Fandrich said.
Due to Fandrich’s local connections in the wine and beer industry, she is able to acquire more clients that want sophisticated food with the added convenience of a food truck.
“At the Wine and Chocolate weekend we were hired by the Van Ruiten winery to create a refined menu which consisted of French dip sandwiches with au jus, risotto balls, and a play on chicken and waffles with chicken dipped in waffle batter and fried, which was served with a bourbon-infused maple syrup,” Fandrich said.
Not having to conform to the stereotypical food truck cuisine is what Fandrich likes about her food truck.
“We serve things from mini-chicken pot pies to classic chicken fingers. It all depends on a client’s taste,” Fandrich said. “Each event we work has a specific menu but we let clients decide what they want,” Fandrich said.
The elaborate menus do come at a higher cost to clients, said Fandrich, whose menu ranges in the $9 to $12 range.
“Our food truck is for the foodies. We sell the classic fair, but we are the place you go to when you want more,” Fandrich said.
Fandrich will be at the Lodi Farmers Market this summer and anticipates sharing her with people looking to experience food that they have not tried before.
“We will have a set menu, but we will feature one new item every week,” Fandrich said.