We had a great time showcasing some of our extraordinary clients today at The Columbus Commons for Good Day Columbus. Special thanks to Pitabilities, Swoop! Food Truck, and Tatoheads for participating.
By Evan Schieber
Columbus-ite Thomas Adams was an expert in the tire business. Between doing global product development, selling for a large account on the east coast, and working as head of marketing for the U.S. branch of a global tire company, it’s safe to say that he had found a comfortable niche. However, after 30 years in the industry, the cracks were beginning to show.
“The last two or three years, every 8 weeks I was in China,” Said Adams. “I loved the people, but it’s rough…my health was starting to suffer, and quality of life was just tough.” After 30 years, Adams was ready to take on a new venture.
After leaving the tire industry, Adams found himself having a light-bulb moment while working in soup kitchens in Philadelphia. He realized that he could culminate his interests in fresh food and asset based community development by running a gourmet food truck.
Adams started his food truck endeavor Red Plate Blue Plate with a used Utilimaster van. After a bumpy start (his first test-drive led to his engine catching ablaze), Adams worked out the kinks and settled into serving Charleston-inspired southern coastal style of cuisine. “Kind of where the garden and the shore meet in the Carolinas, down to Georgia” Adams says.
Through an internet search for commissary kitchens, Adams found an ally in the ECDI powered Food Fort-a food business incubator featuring a licensed commissary and a full sized commercial kitchen. It provides him with many resources.
“I was on gravel before. I have sanitation here, I have an inside sink, I have a prep area. I don’t have to do absolutely everything on the truck which is what I had to do last year,” Adams noted. Adams also discovered that his personal philosophy aligned with that of the Food Fort. “The heart of ECDI is economic-based community development, so I have an instant alignment here,” he said.
Adams has big ideas driven by asset-based community development- a technique Thomas learned at his church, Sanctuary of Columbus. Asset-based community development helps communities empower themselves by taking inventory of the strengths and assets they possess. One such idea is Red Plate Blue Plate’s alter ego, Abe’s Kitchen.
“[Abe’s Kitchen] owns this thing called a H.E.A.T. menu: Healthy, Economical, and Tasty. Imagine a dollar menu, like one dollar, two dollar, four dollars. And one dollar gets you a nice, healthy, high value sandwich. Two dollars gets you a sandwich and a side. Four dollars and you’re carrying dinner home” Adams explained. Driven by food and time donated by the community it’s serving in, Abe’s Kitchen would be an example of the effectiveness of asset based community development.
Red Plate Blue Plate maintains an updated calendar at streetfoodfinder.com. In the future, they hope to develop partnerships with the burgeoning growler and brewpub industry in the University District. For questions and booking, Thomas Adams can be contacted at or (614) 859-0809.
–Evan started working as an intern at ECDI’s Food Fort in April of 2014. He has been working closely with its director to develop new informational materials for the Food Fort as well as a portfolio of client-focused photographs. A native of Columbus, Evan has a passion for cycling advocacy and photography. Evan is currently studying writing at Antioch College, and is in Columbus for his cooperative work term. He can be reached at eschieber (at) ecdi.org, or by phone at (614) 559-0193.–
There are few simple pleasures better than friends gathering in a kitchen, sharing laughter and delicious food.
This winter, the Food Fort opened its kitchen to India Latham of culinary operation FlavorSuites for a dynamic Culinary Basics course, and that’s exactly what happened. India invited members of her women’s ministry to spend an afternoon in the Fort’s commercial kitchen, and taught them how to translate their new skills to their home kitchens.
FlavorSuites specializes in culinary entertainment, seasonal specialty baked foods, consulting and education. Everywhere she goes, India carries that love of culinary education with her. “I’m always being approached on how to do so many things in the kitchen,” India explained. “I thought it was important to give [our women’s ministry] a proper foundation to start with.” The course covered subjects like safety and sanitation, kitchen appliances, and budget-friendly, healthy meal preparation.
India ended the course by inviting all the women to prepare breakfast egg muffins and fresh smoothies. “Being able to host at the Food Fort’s commercial kitchen, we had so much space and equipment available. The environment was conducive to learning and educating. The ladies learned a lot!”
We at the Food Fort were delighted to host FlavorSuites, whose worldwide perspective allows them to turn classic dishes into globally-inspired cuisine. FlavorSuites is available for catering, as well as customizable consulting and culinary courses. Learn more at www.FlavorSuites.com.
Interested in hosting your own culinary event at the Food Fort? Contact us today for a tour of our fully-licensed, state of the art commercial kitchens!
More information here.
The event runs from Noon to 10 pm. Many of our food truck members will be at the Food Truck and Fun Fest. Last year, we worked with the city of Whitehall to do a National Night Out event which was well received within the community and had a great turn out.
The Mid-Ohio Foodbank and the Central Ohio Restaurant Association (CORA) have partnered for several years to work together to fight hunger. The concept is simple. The restaurants commit to donate 5% of sales to the Foodbank on a set day, you eat and the Mid-Ohio Foodbank gets more funds to do good things in our community. This is called Food Fight!
This year working with CORA and Columbus State Community College (CSCC) several of our local food trucks are getting on board to join the cause with a special preliminary round of the fight on June 25th.
CSCC will host several food trucks on their campus from 10 am to 6 pm to feed all diners – students, staff, downtown workers and residents as well as anyone that would like to drop by. The trucks will be set up at the intersection of Cleveland Ave. and Mt Vernon Ave.
Please share this with anyone you would know that is interested.
To learn more:
Thank to the many in the community that have partnered to make this event possible including:
CORA, CSCC, 614 Magazine, CD102.5, NBC4 and Yelp as well as our food truck community.
The Women’s Business Center at ECDI invites all to come with family and friends to celebrate Women’s Day on June 22nd from 11 am to 4:00 pm.
The event will be held on the ECDI Campus at 1655 Old Leonard Ave.
The day will feature family friendly activities, mobile food vendors including Pitabilities and Dan’s Deli 41, an e-waste recycling drive from 10 am to 2 pm, live music and guest speakers. Liz Lessner from Columbus Food League (Betty’s, Tip Top, Jury Room, Dirty Frank’s, Grass Skirt Tiki Room, Surly Girl Saloon) and Eartha Recycling will be a featured speaker at the conclusion of the day.
Speaker and event schedule is listed below:
11:15 – 12:00 p.m.
Jacqueline Holland, RN, CRNP, WHNP- Program Manager, Diversity
Diversity Enhancement Program at the James Cancer Clinic
Health and Balance in Our Lives
12:15 – 12:45 p.m.
Dress for Success –“What not to Wear” Presentation and Make-over”
12:30 – 1:00 p.m.
Catfish Lily – Live Music
1:00 – 1:45 p.m.
TaKeysha S. Cheney, Founder, CEO and Publisher of The Women’s Book
The Importance of Making Connections
2:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Dress for Success- “What not to Wear” Presentation and Make-over”
2:15 – 2:45 p.m.
Catfish Lily – Live Music
2:45 – 3:30 p.m.
Liz Lessner, CEO and President of Betty’s Family of Restaurants
The Dream, the Vision, the Budget
Donate your old computers, TVs & almost anything with a cord and put
individuals with barriers to employment to work!
What is e-Waste?
Unwanted consumer and business electronic products nearing the
end of their useful life are called e-Waste or e-scrap (computers, game systems, phones, etc.)
A $5 donation/disposal fee is required for computer monitors up TVs up to 27”
and $10 donation for TVs larger than 27”.