(Above: Monique Haugen and Craig Beaudry from The Wiches Cauldron. Photo by Jordan Mady.)
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Stittsville’s The ‘Wiches Cauldron is in its third season and business is bubbling. In this issue, the first in a series about Stittsville food trucks, you’ll meet the married, university-educated duo behind the delicious sorcery. The couple pumps out sandwiches and soups on the daily, and they’re constantly brewing up something new. Visit them at their Carp Rd. location just south of Hazeldean Road and you’ll find yourself wanting to be friends with them instantly.)
WATCH: Reporter Jordan Mady goes behind the scenes inside The ‘Wiches Cauldron food truck to see how they put together those delicious sandwiches.
JORDAN MADY: What are your names and what is your connection to The Wiches Cauldron?
Monique Haugen: Part-owner, bookkeeper, chef.
Craig Beaudry: Chef, part-owner.
JM: What’s the relationship between you two?
MH: We’re married. I just don’t have his name.
JM: What was the lead-up to The ‘Wiches Cauldron?
MH: We’ve both been in the industry for about 16 years, so I started cooking right at 16, went to chef school – we went to Algonquin, both of us. We met cooking at the Village Café which is a bistro in Westboro. And it was just kind of wanting to follow our dream and doing our own thing. So we thought up the idea of a food truck. It’s a little bit smaller investment than a restaurant. We started playing with some ideas and what kind of food.
CB: And then I came up with a kick-ass name.
JM: How did you think of the name?
CB: By rattling off names constantly. We probably went through 200 names.
MH: Bohemian Whrapsody. We decided we didn’t want to do just wraps.
CB: It widdled down to this one and we couldn’t be happier.
JM: Were there any others names strongly considered?
CB: I wasn’t willing to divulge most of my names in fear of them being stolen.
MH: We thought maybe of doing one with everything on a stick.
CB: Local Sticks One Three. I mean, I don’t want to give these out (They both laugh.)
MH: You can use that.
CB: I thought I was part-owner. Weird.
JM: How did you come up with the concept?
MH: Just a lot of brainstorming and we knew soup and sandwich, something people would eat every day. And it’s very quick to put out. It’s a lot of prep for us but when people are waiting in line they know once they’ve ordered their food, it’s not going to take very long.
CB: And it’s also a great medium to change up constantly … considering our menu changes every two weeks.
MH: We have a special every day, special desserts every day. It’s constantly new stuff so people can come five days a week and eat something different.
CB: And we don’t get bored of making the same dish over and over.
JM: Was Stittsville a first choice for location?
CB: We didn’t actually have a choice for a location, we just needed land and we looked everywhere and this was the first place to have a gorgeous spot that was available.
MH: We lucked out. We’re very happy to be in Stittsville.
JM: Is this a stationary food truck?
JM: What makes your food truck different than the other food trucks in Stittsville?
CB: Everything! (He chuckles.)
MH: We’re doing a different type of cuisine. We really focus on everything homemade. We don’t have any deep fryers, the changing of the menu, if people want to eat a bit healthier, they have a lot more options here.
CB: If not healthier, lighter.
MH: All the other food trucks here are amazing but it’s nice they all offer different types of food.
JM: Where did you get your recipes from?
MH: We actually don’t have recipes. We’re both trained chefs so we just…
CB: …cook until it tastes the way we want it to.
JM: How has business been?
CB: So busy we’re getting nervous for peak season…
MH: Demand is almost outweighing supply.
JM: What are the keys to your success?
CB: Hard work, kindness, a little bit of raw talent in there.
MH: We want to make food people like and food that makes people happy. We focus on that. We try not to worry too much about trends.
JM: How is social media adding value to your business?
MH: Facebook has helped tremendously. It keeps people updated on what we’re doing.
Craig: And it’s a great interactive.
MH: Absolutely. People tell us ‘oh, I really liked the special today, hope you do that again’. It’s a really good way to keep in touch with customers.
JM: Any plans for expansion?
Craig: We won’t do another food truck.
MH: The season is hard. Winters are long so bills don’t stop coming but we have to close. That’s one challenge, I’d say. One day, we’d like four walls. Indoors.
JM: Any mushy details on how you met?
MH: There’s not really much to say. We’ve always worked together.
Craig: We’ve always worked together.
JM: Who asked who out?
MH: I’d say he asked me out for sure.
JM: Why did you ask her out? What did you see in her?
Craig: Everything … Hashtag Soulmates. Everything just clicked… looks…
MH: It took me a little longer though…