Chef Julian Luna ha a mission to bring flavor back to health food. Luna is looking to accomplish that goal with the launch of his new food truck, Body Fuel by J, which is currently being built. The Waxahachie resident hopes to be on the road and serving food by the end of February.
“Predominately I am self-taught. Growing up my mother was always the entertainer. She was the baker, and she was the one that everyone went to for the holidays. She brought me into the restaurant field at a very early age,” Luna said. “My mom was a waitress so I got to be in the back of the house and I got to see the women and the men and how they told their stories about the food that they cooked.”
His passion for food blossomed under the guidance of Joel Skipper, who is the chef in the Waxahachie High School Culinary Arts Department. Under Skipper's supervision, Luna found how to take food from ordinary to extraordinary.
“Joel Skipper here at the high school was a very influential character in my culinary upbringing. He taught me a lot of discipline,” Luna explained. “He taught me how to let the food be the food and how to put in just enough to make it special but still be itself.”
Luna has worked at several businesses here in Waxahachie that include Ann’s Health Food and Tuscan Slice. The idea for the food truck started to take shape when he was working in the oil fields in south Texas and Oklahoma. A call from his step mother-law, Lissa Sauls, one day changed the path he was on with the suggestion that they start a food truck together. Over time the idea has grown and is becoming a reality.
“I was at various restaurants in Waxahachie, but I never felt that I was doing what I needed to be doing. I felt like I needed to be (serving) food like grandma and grandpa used to do it with real ingredients and stuff grown in gardens,” Luna stated. “I was blessed with an opportunity to make cheese from scratch with Marc Kueahl from Brazos Valley Cheese in Waco. He is a cheese maker. His community showed me that it is possible to do something with your heart.”
Luna shared that eating healthy does not mean you have to sacrifice flavor and taste. He is currently developing the menu for the truck with the input from a nutritionist. The foods on the menu are going to be created with organic ingredients, meats, and cheeses that are locally sourced. No food on the menu will contain genetically modified organisms or GMO’s
“The entire concept of what people think of a health food does not have to be ‘health food.’ our food is honest food made with honest ingredients,” Luna explained. “Why did grandma and grandpa live to be so old? I feel that the garden carried a lot more secrets that we were not willing to investigate.”
Luna continued stating that customers won’t have the guilt that comes along with some foods that people regularly consume.
One of the dishes that will be featured on the menu is Luna’s Hatch Chile Avocado Chicken Salad, which can be wrapped, sandwiched, or pressed on a Panini.
“My hatch chile avocado chicken salad is 100 percent organic, 100 percent non-GMO and made with avocado oil, fresh cilantro, hatched in-house green chilies, fresh cumin, fresh onions, and fresh chive,” Luna proudly spoke. “The chicken is stewed properly (with) celery, onion, and carrots. You also have got your garlic. It is a beautiful balance.”
Luna stated that he is going to be working to create dishes that are diabetic friendly. The truck will feature fresh pressed juices and smoothies. He also is going to feature local purveyors, and specialty soda makers out of Austin and Dallas.
Luna noted that the truck is being built to the City of Dallas code of conduct for food trucks, which has one of the strictest health standards. The truck will be fully permitted in each city it operates from the Metroplex all the way down to San Antonio.
“The truck we are looking at right now I believe is an 18-foot that includes the cab. Interior specifications are seven foot wide with a 14-foot working area. We are going to have a flat grill, a griddle, a Panini press, a full working vent-a-hood, and a juicer,” Luna said. “We are not going to have the prefabbed sauces or canned ingredients. We are not going to be doing that. If we can't pronounce an ingredient we don't want it in there.”
People will not only get to try Luna’s new spin on health food but will also get to see how it is made and created in the kitchen.
“We want to launch cameras inside and outside the truck to have it as a full interactive experience. Whenever we are at that point we are going to launch a YouTube (channel) because people don't get to see behind the scenes of the food truck,” Luna stated. “So during our hours of operations, boom, we launch that food truck camera. Everything comes on. You want to know what is going on at the festival? We will have 360-degree views from each corner.”
Luna said he is excited about seeing his dream come to fruition.
“The food truck has always been a dream of mine. It has been on the back burner,” Luna recalled. “It was one of those things that you entertain but you never think that it is going to happen. Then just one day it goes off.”
The date for the launch of the Body Fuel by J food truck has not been set at this time. Updates on the launch date and menu items will be posted to the truck’s Facebook page, Body Fuel by J. Questions about the truck, its food, or places that it will travel to can emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.