One of the great advantages of food trucks is that owners are on the truck daily. This brings a tight bond between the owner and their hungry patrons. Since many of us only get that small time between ordering and grabbing our food, I wanted to help bring us together. That’s when I got the idea, Behind The Wheel. Gets me back to telling the story and further enjoying – being around food trucks. This week I highlight Belgian Waffology.
You ever look at someone at think to yourself, “that could be me?” Maybe not exactly, but similar to looking at a fun house mirror that doesn’t make you look extremely distorted. As I talk to Francois of Belgian Waffology, I see similarities. And maybe in some Sci-Fi, you get the feeling everything is connected; maybe I sat near him at Fullsteam with friends enjoying one of the food trucks outside a couple years back. My mind pauses to reset to another idea, but rewinds back to think “Hmmm?”
Francois is the real deal: Belgium Born and Belgiun Bred. So, how does a Belgian come from across the ocean to the Triangle. They follow their heart. His wife came to UNC-Chapel Hill for a short-term research assignment. What was supposed to be a sabbatical-like holiday, turned into a love affair with the Triangle region. At the time Francois was still employed, so he quit that job and began working on design in our technology-rich area. While that opportunity helped keep the household going, it wasn’t too long he had to start back at square one (or day zero as he called it). And by square one, it was similar to tearing up the blueprints and redrawing the designs. It was long after the study of Belgian Waffles: Belgian Waffology was born.
Why did you get in the food truck business?
Food has always been part of Francois’ life. When a person loves food, cooking becomes second nature. Francois pre-food truck days crossed paths with a cousin teaching him professional techniques and being part of a Belgian cooking show. So when life gave him the challenge to start at day zero, his desire for food came about.
The first idea was to build a café. Francois wanted to make an authentic experience from the food down to the atmosphere. But the decision between investing in a food truck over a building is more on risk, not one is easier or necessarily cheaper.
Francois has a Masters in Psychology, so his background is to analyze and make calculated risk decisions. Buying a food truck is not like walking to a lot and buying a car. He traveled to New York City for a week of “training” to see his dream in reality. He returned to the Triangle and began the search for “Freddie”.
Freddie is one of the smallest trucks in the area. But Francois doesn’t get truck envy, he wanted his truck this way. When shopping he wanted something where he could build himself, but not be a complete overhaul. Then, on a Saturday morning in Durham at the Broadway Veterinary Hospital’s grand opening, the first class of Belgian Waffology started… and it met it’s first student.
So is the café next for Belgian Waffology?
Not necessarily per Francois. The idea is to grow the brand, where he can face new challenges and keep the ideas fresh. Does that mean operating a fleet of trucks or opening a building? The one thing missing in his concept is Belgian beer. While many Triangle breweries have a Belgian Wit beer on tap, I’m sure Francois would like to have a whole line of Belgian beers.
What is your favorite item?
Not surprise the Liege is his favorite, because I enjoy it as well. In fact, the default waffle for many items is the Liege. Just the sight of the caramelized sugar on the outside makes my lips smack. Not far behind is the Choco Waffle, which is the Liege stuffed with Belgian chocolate.
What are things you like to do?
Before the truck, he used to watch a lot of movies. That hobby has taken a back seat, but he still makes time to hang out with friends. When given the free opportunity, he likes to go clubbing and dance. In fact, his next long holiday includes a stop in Miami to enjoy their club scene.
Recently, I worked on the truck, because I made a passionate bet on US Soccer over Belgium. The terms were waffles for labor. I really enjoyed working on truck with Francois and Jacob, his chef on board. Later on the blog we will read more on that experience.
Want to follow them?