Look out for the smoking van at SIAL!

Le Camion qui fume

Street food has been big in the States for decades. In Asia it has been around for even longer, being such a part of the "cultural" landscape. In France, this phenomenon has long been limited to pizza vans in the South and chip vans in the North! Now it arrives in Paris in the shape of "Le Camion qui fume" (literally: "the smoking van"). It is the brainchild of a young Californian, Kristin Frederick.
 Clearly influenced by the street food of her native state, she arrived in Paris in 2009, enrolled on a course at the Ferrandi Higher School of French Cuisine, served as an intern in two gourmet restaurants in Los Angeles then worked for six months in a Parisian two-star establishment. With her driver's license in her pocket and a passion for French produce, she came up with the idea of "Le Camion qui fume" and took to the streets of the capital in November 2011. These were "student budget" burgers that were designed to be incomparable with those available from the neighbouring fast-foods: fresh bread, beef minced on-the-spot, crisp and fresh lettuce and tomatoes, real cheddar, etc. Word-of-mouth did the rest. “A week later we were turning out more than 100 burgers per shift,” she tells us now. Today, a team of three works in the white van, in the kitchen and at the wheel. Le Camion qui fume has won over the Paris public, and at each session serves up to 150 food-lovers who are quite happy to queue for “a real American-style hamburger, tasting like those I had as a kid,” in the words of Kristin. It is a phenomenon that now has over 5,000 followers on Twitter and 4,000 Facebook fans. While awaiting the day when she may open her own restaurant to serve up French cuisine, this American chef sees her future at the wheel of a second van, which can be tracked like its predecessor on the site of "Le Camion qui fume" or on the social networks!

Kristin Frederick - Le Camion qui fume


* In Paris, regularly to be found at lunchtime at the Marché Madeleine (8th arrondissement) and at Porte Maillot (17th), and at the Point Éphémère on Sunday evenings.