Wednesday, September 24, 2008

PROFILE: Happiness is a small white truck

Columbia Business School graduates end up in a lot of places, but selling food out of a truck isn't usually one of them. So it's fun to imagine how Chris Chen's parents reacted when he told them that instead of joining an investment bank like many of his classmates, his recipe for success after graduation would be a little different: recruit (1) pastry chef from Le Cirque; buy (1) white truck; offer (6) restaurant-quality desserts; charge (5) dollars for each; sprinkle with stops throughout the East Village; and make lots of ($). 

So far, the recipe looks pretty good. Chris and his partner Jerome Chang launched the Dessert Truck last year, and the critics went wild. The New York Times called the pair's creme brulee "textbook and top-notch." New York Magazine warned that the hot chocolate was "nearly lethal." The Dessert Truck even made USAToday's top-ten list of America's best movable feasts.     

Running a Dessert Truck isn't all glory. At the end of a late night, Chris returns the truck to a garage in the outer boroughs, schleps home to his apartment in Manhattan, then gets up early the next day to begin preparing that night's chocolate bread pudding and goat cheese cheesecake. But that's he's making money and making people happy. He may even start getting applications from his classmates at Lehman.

No comments: