The Wonderful Wandering Chef of Wyoming Valley
The wonderful wandering chef, Michael Raub, a native of Dallas, wandered far from home — to Providence, Rhode Island to earn an associate degree in culinary arts. Now he’s back in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and he’s brought a bit of that wandering spirit with him.
“We had an idea and had it in development for awhile—an opportunity to bring new food items and a new way to serve food to the area,” Raub said. “There weren’t many food trucks in the area and we know we can put out good products. We want to make people happy and give them a nice experience outside of our normal business lines.”
Enter The Wandering Chef food truck. Raub and Metz Culinary Management, which owns a number of restaurants in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, took the truck from conception to completion. Raub has been wandering Northeastern Pennsylvania with it ever since.
Raub said that one of his initial goals with The Wandering Chef was to offer food that people can walk away with and comfortably transport back to their homes or offices, but he’s also put effort into making the food truck an immersive dining experience.
“We put out the high top tables so you don’t have to leave. We want you to hang around, enjoy the music (so we) put on a show… we want you to watch us cook the food. We got an extra large window so you can see us in there. We set up the kitchen so you can watch us cook. We’re not trying to hide anything from you—we want you to see all the fresh food that’s going into it and how we’re making it.”
Visitors to The Wandering Chef can experience a different show weekly since the sandwich-based menu changes every Sunday, but customers can always rely on the truck’s fry offerings to be available when they come back for seconds. Patrons can order three different types of fries—the Wandering Fries, which are topped with a mild seasoning blend, Buffalo Bleu Cheese Fries, which are topped with a homemade buffalo sauce and crumbled bleu cheese, and Garlic Parmesan Fries, which are tossed in garlic butter and topped with Parmesan cheese.
According to Raub, the Garlic Parmesan Fries pair well with much of the menu since it’s largely based in Italian cuisine—that means they go well with his personal favorite menu item, the Pulled Porketta.
“I’ve loved porketta since I was little (and) there’s a certain way to make porketta in this area that’s different than other areas. We do a pulled pork that’s slow roasted overnight and we pull it down just like a barbecue pork would be, but we take it and we season it on the truck as we’re making it with garlic olive oil, fresh lemon and a porketta seasoning that makes it taste like the porketta around here. Then we top it with pickles and red onions.”
If Pulled Porketta with Garlic Parmsean Fries sounds like a wonderful lunch to wander into, imagine what else is served by The Wandering Chef. Raub posts the food truck’s weekly menu items and schedule on its Facebook page, The Wandering Chef PA.