Q&A with Mike Thompson

Q&A with Mike Thompson

Last Updated: 27 May 2015
Localista Team

From the best winter warmer meal to slow-cooked Texan barbecue meats, we speak to Rancho Sombrero's Mike Thompson about the ins and outs of food-truck life.

So, tell us your story. How'd you get into the food-truck life?
After spending 22 years trapped behind a desk as a public servant, an opportunity arose to take a voluntary severance package. My wife and I joked about me starting up a food van, but as time progressed the 'joke' wore off. Last summer in Perth was a big one for food vans, which culminated in the first Food Truck Rumble. Seeing the vendors that rocked in that day cemented it for me – I had the van built locally, attended a couple of seminars held by Roy Chin from Jumplings and Brendon from Little Caesars Pizzette, and started planning the food.

Why Tex-Mex?
At the time, nobody in Perth was really serving Texas barbecue, which is 'slow and low' cooked meats in smokers – to the point where they fall apart and have a distinct smoky flavour. My idea was to combine this with my love of traditional Mexican food – ironically picked up during regular trips to Bali! My take on it was to put the Texas barbecue meats, like brisket, pulled pork, smoked chipotle and chicken, and serve them up in imported authentic burritos and soft corn tacos with handmade salsas, sauces and pickles. I love the way pickled pineapple adds another level to barbecue pulled pork, or combining traditional pickled red onion with beef brisket cuts through the fatty mouth taste to highlight the succulent smoky flavours of the meat.

What do you reckon is the best winter meal on your menu?
I love a simple and fresh lime and coriander rice with a hearty beef chilli, a spoon of sour cream and a squirt of some good hot sauce. It's the one dish, in my opinion, where you can go pretty hard with the spice from the hot sauce and still enjoy the flavours of the dish. Some people think my hot sauce is too tame, and we've had to ensure a bottle of Sriracha is always on hand to keep guys like Roy from Jumplings happy.

Find at Park'd, Curtin; City Farm Hawkers Markets;
Inglewood on Beaufort markets.


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