Spice It Up Food Truck Adds a Little Extra zest to Meals
When Christine Paciora was only 12, she was already in charge of cooking dinners for her family of six. She made Italian one night and Mexican another, a stark contrast to the dumplings and sauerkraut her mom usually made.
“I just fell in love with spices,” Paciora says, gazing at her Spice It Up food truck parked just outside of the Phoenix Pubic Market. “I discovered that there’s spice blends in curry, from all different countries, and that they’re all unique. It fascinated me. I did a lot of investigating and a lot of trial and error; now people tell me it’s authentic.”
She also enjoys watching customers feel better after eating her food.
“The best thing is when you hand somebody a dish, they take a bite of it, and they just look up and their eyes roll back in their heads, and they’re like, ‘Oh my God, this is so good,’” Paciora says.
Although it would be decades before her Spice It Up food truck would come to fruition, Paciora always had a knack for customer service, working in retail before leaving her job to start a family. When she was a stay at home mom, she was always searching for a flexible, creative outlet and eventually found it in her first love: cooking. Soon, she began working in catering, meal replacements and themed parties.
When her kids left for college, she decided it was time to do something for herself. While searching for a restaurant to open, a friend casually suggested she start a food truck then move it to a restaurant if it proved to be successful. Within two months of their conversation, the blueprints for the truck were in the works.
Paciora always had high hopes, right from the beginning. While the truck was being built, she brought her husband to the lot outside the Phoenix Public Market and told him that she was going to be in that market one day. She was right.
After watching the first episode of The Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race, she told her son she’d be on the show. She was right about that too.
Although her truck didn’t win, Paciora describes the entire experience as “incredible.” Following the appearance, she was flooded with media attention and saw a dramatic spike in requests for private parties. However, she credits the majority of her success to the high-quality of her seasonally rotating dishes, including her famous Tikka Masala and Cambodian Ginger Beef.
“We make everything from scratch. We grind all our own spices and we don’t’ skimp on quality, anywhere. We use all the top ingredients; nothing’s frozen. I’ve seen other trucks take frozen stuff and throw it on the grill, not us,” she says.
Although it hasn’t always been an easy road, one of the biggest obstacles being the marketing of her product, Paciora eventually hired two women that have been with her for years and know the product inside and out. There is also a spice wheel sitting outside her truck to help guests understand just what it is that they’re eating.
“We want to educate them on food and spice. We want to show them that spices can be flavorful and not just hot,” Paciora says. “It’s really authentic.”
To learn more, visit SpiceItUpTruck.com