Spunky, determined, energetic. Those are three words we’d use to describe 44-year-old Corinne Carroll (above, photo by Jordan Mady), owner of the Culinary Meltdown food trailer in Stittsville. She sends out gourmet comfort food favourites on the daily in the form of bacon mac & cheese and caramelized onion grilled cheese sandwiches. Visit the Carp Rd. (at Rothbourne) location and you’ll have a meltdown like never before. Are you drooling yet? Check out the video at the end of the article to see how the bacon mac & cheese is made. This interview is part of our continuing series on Stittsville food trucks.
Heads up: the food truck is at the Dragonboat Festival until June 30 , but back at their usual location on Carp Road after that. They’re also at Bluesfest from July 8-19.
JORDAN MADY: What’s your involvement in Culinary Meltdown?
CORINNE CARROLL: I’m the owner. I’ve had a catering business as well as the Culinary Meltdown food trailer.
JM: How did you decide to start a food trailer?
CC: I was toying with the idea a couple years ago and then, finally, I jumped on the bandwagon last fall and decided I wanted to showcase something different.
JM: How’s it going so far?
CC: Great. We’re getting really good feedback from people. They’re loving the food. It’s comfort food so it’s all home-made. We’re getting good feedback so we’re quite happy with it.
JM: How did Culinary Meltdown come together?
CC: So it actually happened pretty quickly because I started out at the Tanger Outlet mall. I had an agreement with them to be there for their grand opening on October 17 and I got on the bandwagon in September so I didn’t have much time. Everyone thought I was a little crazy to try to get this all together in a month and a half but I knew I could do it. I’m a pretty determined lady so I found the person to build me the truck and I had all my resources in a row. I came up with the menu and worked with my chefs at the catering company with the menus. My grandfather used to be a chef so they come from my childhood.
JM: How was your location decided?
CC: Because we’re in Stittsville we wanted to be a little bit closer to the shop (Mixing Bowl Catering, on Westbrook Road). We also wanted to explore our options by going to festivals this summer. We really want to give that a go. We made it into Ottawa Bluesfest, to Dragonboat Fest and Shawville Fair so we’re quite excited about that. We wanted to be able to move, we wanted to be a little bit more mobile than just a stationary trailer.
JM: So it’s not stationary food truck and it’s not a stationary menu?
CC: Correct! We’re always changing, always looking for new ideas.
JM: You’re married and have a son in competitive hockey. Do you miss a lot? What’s your work schedule like?
CC: My work schedule is crazy! I’m not always in the trailer, I’m at work, I’m in meetings. I would say my average day is usually 16 hours. If I’m lucky, 12 hours. Sometimes I have a normal day of eight hours. I’m a night owl so I do a lot of things at night. If I’m on the road all day, then I have to catch up with my emails at night so I have a pretty busy schedule. So yeah, I do tend to miss a lot of my son’s hockey games but I try to make as many as I can but I’m sure he appreciates it. He’ll have a job later on in the trailer I’m sure he’ll be fond of.
JM: So you may not be around all the time, but the family appreciates your hard work?
CC: They appreciate it. Last night when I wasn’t home to make dinner, my husband’s a great cook, but he stopped by last night to pick up dinner. They always know there’s something here they can stop and grab quickly. Last night he was on his way to football so he grabbed some mac & cheese on his way. I’m handy for them and I think they appreciate that for sure.
JM: Is this a one food truck show? Any expansion plans?
CC: We’re really enjoying this right now and I never stop at one idea. So for sure, I am open to the possibility already. I have my wheels turning and a second food truck or trailer could be in the works.
JM: How did you come up with the name?
CC: I toyed with a few names. Because I wanted to have the trailer open last fall, I didn’t have a ton of time to come up with something. The word “culinary” really came to mind. It’s something that we use in the industry a lot in our catering business and the food industry. And because we do a lot of items with melted cheese, we thought the word “meltdown” was also appropriate. They sounded really good together. We’re quite happy with it.
(Before our interview began, Corinne & I were chatting about Stittsville and eventually determined that her family bought our previous home in Crossing Bridge. Small world! -JM.)