A Latke Tutorial With Old World Food Truck

Entertaining, Holiday and tagged , , , | | | 2 Replies

This week, in anticipation of the upcoming Hanukkah holiday, we stopped by San Francisco’s Old World Food Truck to cook up some latkes with chef and truck owner and operator Kenny Hockert. With a culinary background including training at New York’s Natural Gourmet Institute and stints in the kitchens at Heartbeat in the W New York and Savoy as well as executive chef at eco-retreats in Denali National Park, Alaska, Kenny’s varied history has all led him to Old World Food Truck, which he opened in April of 2012.

The eyecatching truck, which can be seen around the streets of San Francisco and at events such as Off the Grid, was designed by artist Hannah Morris. Kenny told us that his desire to launch Old World Food Truck was inspired in part by his family.  “I was really intrigued by food trucks and street food and  I wanted to do something that was authentic to me and my personal and family experience. I feel like that’s intrinsic to street food. That’s what brought me to wanting to do Jewish and Eastern European food. My mother and her parents were Holocaust survivors and immigrants from Eastern Europe and they brought all these traditions with them  . . . Being first generation, I grew up involved in households that were part old world and part new world. Drawing on that experience of family and food was very important to me, and combining that experience with a modern approach to cooking — local ingredients, natural foods, everything from scratch — seemed to be a natural fit for this type of food.”


Kenny served the latkes he cooked for us on the Pottery Barn Tree of Life Stoneware Plate along with the Pottery Barn Hanukkah Napkin.  (You can find more of Pottery Barn’s Hanukkah selections here.)

If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to stop by the food truck this season, check The Old World Food Truck’s site for locations each day. Or for a more formal experience, make a reservation at Old World Food Truck’s Hanukkah Pop-Up this Sunday in San Francisco.

“Our Hanukkah pop up is an opportunity to get a little deeper into the Jewish cookbook by doing a more upscale thing than we do on the foodtruck,” Kenny told us. “It’s also an opportunity to bring people together in a non-denominational way to celebrate both Jewish culture and Jewish food. I feel like there’s always been a lot of enthusiasm for it, so for every major holiday, whether it’s Hanukkah or Passover, we like to sit and hold a gathering and let people come together over wine and food and provide that structure for people — Jews and non-Jews alike — to be able to thrive and enjoy that environment if they don’t have the opportunity to go home to their families, which we don’t always do for this time of year. Or maybe you want to bring you family all here because you don’t feel like cooking for the holidays. A lot of different types of people will come and it’s always a really vibrant celebration. We try to take some of the traditional foods from that holiday [and do a twist on it]. We make a fun, five-course meal out of it.”

 

The Hanukkah Pop-Up will include a latke tasting, and Kenny shared two tried-and-true latke recipes with us, which you can try at home for your friends and family.

 

Potato Latkes for 4

 

1 lb potatoes, grated

1  tsp salt

1 small onion, grated

pinch of pepper

2 eggs

 

Salt the potatoes and let them sit for an hour to concentrate the starch. Drain potatoes and then add the onion, grated. Add the rest of the ingredients ingredients in and mix. Add a rounded spoonful of batter to 1/2 inch of heated oil in a nonstick or regular pan. (The oil should be shimmering, so the latkes will not soak up too much oil.) Brown on each side, then let sit on a cooling rack or on paper towels. Serve immediately with applesauce and chive sour cream.

Sweet Potato Latkes for 4

1 lb sweet potato, grated

1 tsp salt

1 small onion, grated

pinch of pepper

fresh herbs

2 cloves roasted garlic

2 eggs

 

Salt the potatoes and let them sit for an hour to concentrate the starch. Drain potatoes and then add the onion, grated. Add the rest of the ingredients ingredients in and mix. Add a rounded spoonful of batter to 1/2 inch of heated oil in a nonstick or regular pan. (The oil should be shimmering, so the latkes will not soak up too much oil.) Brown on each side, then let sit on a cooling rack or on paper towels. Serve immediately with applesauce and chive sour cream.

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2 thoughts on “A Latke Tutorial With Old World Food Truck

  1. Pingback: A Latke Tutorial With Old World Food Truck

  2. Pingback: Just Truckin’ Around | Noise 13

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