The idea was set; a Mac ‘N Cheese food truck was happening. However, there was still one tiny problem. My standard meal consisted of microwave burritos. How could I cook? How does one make cheese sauce? Ever heard of rue? The answer to all was…. no.
No worries, I was not to be deterred. Like any millennial I searched the first place that came to mind: Google. I spent the next few days browsing each cheese sauce recipe I could find. I sought to understand the ingredients. What was unique in the different varieties? What did they have in common? Would I bake my Mac? How about pan fried? There was some serious debate. After contemplating the secret of the ooze, I finally decided on pan fried Mac.
Over the next 5 months, I experimented with different styles and quantities of cheese. That kitchen became my laboratory and I turned into a regular at the grocery store. Each night, I played mad scientist as I tested the sauce’s flavor with differing cheese combinations and varying amounts of flour, butter, salt and spices. I had my roommates taste test all my different concoctions. Throughout my experiments they tried the good, the bad, and the ugly. By the end, I think they just hoped the most recent batch wasn’t lumpy.
As summer turned to fall, and then fall turned to winter, I finally began to settle on the perfect recipe. It took nearly five months, but I had finally developed a product I was proud of. Now though, as Christmas was nearing, it was time to put it to the test on my family. Unfortunately, this didn’t go as planned. Without my scale and trusted measuring cups, I was unable to reproduce the good stuff. When I asked my father for his opinion he told me, “son, it's 2015, you might want to think about salads.” I then asked an uncle who said simply, “I don’t see it.”
It was difficult to hear, but it brought me back to high school days running cross country when I was relatively new to the sport. After struggling through a summer of training one year, I was not in shape to run a 5k personal best time within the first three meets of the season. This was important because those who did earned a team award. My coach even told me to slow down and reassess my goal going into the third race. He stated that if I started slower, I would not blow up in the second and third miles. Determined and stubborn though, I didn’t listen. I ran hard, pushed myself, and sure enough, I set a personal best. After the race, Coach Hartman would say, “David, I’m going to tell you what you can’t do. Then you’re going to go out and prove me wrong.”
Coach Hartman was right then, and he was right again. Now 17 months later, Mac ‘N Noodles is in business. Things haven’t been perfect, but we’re still truckin. Since my humble beginning, we have achieved a lot. We have begun to build a brand throughout the Denver metro area. We have partnered with California’s Great America in Santa Clara for a test run in their amusement park. I have found an integral team member in Chef José (a.k.a Joseph), who has created AMAZING Carnitas and Philly Cheesesteak Mac. We’ve even created Mac ‘N Cheese apparel, which I would have never imagined (if you combine the mac ‘n cheese tops and bottoms, you might just have an award-winning Halloween costume?)
All of this, and we are JUST GETTING STARTED!! Stay tuned, blog post three “The Cheese Mobile” is just around the corner!
Mac 'N Noodles at California's Great America in Santa Clara 2016
The new Philly Cheesesteak Mac 'N Cheese featuring shaved sirloin steak and sautéed sweet peppers and onions