My Granny’s Kitchen and Emoji’s Grilled Cheese Shine at Soul Food Truck Fest

Larisa and Zach Williams with baby Zoë. Photo by Victor Price.
Everyone remembers their grandma’s down home cooking and how it would unite the family, at least for the time it took to eat a good meal.

It’s a busy world, and the Black family has been the cornerstone of the community when it comes to food. Recipes are shared from generation to generation, all made with the heart and soul of the maker. The beauty of modern times is the emergence of the food truck.

In celebration of this new trend towards mobile comfort food, Austin’s Inaugural Soul Food Truck Fest took place on Saturday, September 30, 2017, at Freedom Plaza at George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural. The festival featured food trucks from across Central Texas that specialize in American soul food. Attendees who purchased a Judge’s Wristband voted on the best dishes and two notable winners came out on top.

Emojis Grilled Cheese: More than cheese and bread

Local Austinite and owner of Emojis Grilled Cheese Food Truck, Hope Green, guarantees that you will experience “more than just cheese and bread.” Her standard recipes infuse good ol’ comfort food within a grilled cheese morsel. The menu featured at the recent Soul Food Truck Fest included American favorites such as jambalaya, blackberry cobbler, and stuffed cinnamon grilled cheese.

Born and raised in Austin, Green, formerly the owner of a real estate company for 16 years, lost her company and home in 2008 due to the market drop. After countless failures in the corporate world, she “wanted to awaken creativity” and draw on her entrepreneurial heart to get started in the food industry. Her daughter, Hope, was her biggest cheerleader. And it was with high hopes that Green opened her food truck business in June 2013

History is definitely in the making due to the heart of this chef. I dubbed her the “food activist” due to her desire to be a change agent in the Black community. Green wanted to introduce people that look like her to the way people are eating food in modern times. This prompted her to join the Soul Food Truck Festival and show out by taking home the trophy for Best Dessert (a blackberry cobbler grilled cheese) and sharing the Grand Champion title with My Granny’s Kitchen. Emojis’ rising popularity stems from the principle of taking comfort food and putting them in grilled cheese. Hope may elect to add a brick and mortar restaurant to the brand, but for now, “mobile is just easier.”

Not only does Hope advocate for the modernization of food, she is very active in employing and supporting nonprofits that benefit young people aging out of foster care. She says she ‘just has the desire to help those that need a second chance at success.’ Working together with organizations such as Ready by Twenty One and Fresh Chef has helped bring much favor to her business.

To view Emojis’ schedule and menu, visit their website or follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Hope tries to post their location from week to week, but most likely you will find them at Office Park or at the local brewery. Feel free to come and support Emojis at the Trucklandia Fest on October 21, 2017 where the winner gets $10,000. Each year, Hope and her team gets closer and closer to the winning title. Maybe the success at the Soul Food Truck Fest will be carried over.

My Granny’s Kitchen: The ‘itis inducing pink truck

Serving up soul food inspired by his grandmother, owner James Chambers operates an iconic pink soul food truck named My Granny’s Kitchen, alongside his mother Vann. The concept is to cater provide quick, healthy meals, especially to families with kids. The menu is reminiscent of the food moms and grandmas cook from scratch.

My Granny’s Kitchen’s savory beef tips shared the festival’s Grand Champion prize  at the Soul Food Truck Festival. (The co-winner was Emojis Grilled Cheese.) My Granny’s Kitchen also won Best Side for their greens.

My Granny’s Kitchen’s beef tips were the talk of the festival: This isn’t home-style cooking; it is home cooking. Good enough to make you say, “I know they gotta have my grandma back there tied to the stove.” And the greens will make you a believer in the oral tradition of passing down recipes outlasting methods of formal culinary education.

The menu features American classic comfort foods, including baked chicken and chicken and dumplings. As James takes on more responsibility from his mother as the owner, they are further developing the family food-truck model. James said, “Growing up, we had baked mac and cheese, but due to feasibility we cannot maintain the same prepared state in a food truck setting.”

My Granny’s Kitchen is mobile but mainly parks at The Thicket in South Austin, located at 7800 S. First Street, where they are open from 4 to 9 p.m. daily. Restaurant announcements are primarily on My Granny’s Kitchen Facebook.

This post was updated on October 19, 2017.

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