Longtime Issaquah chef Lynn Rehn rolls out food truck
March 27, 2012
By Warren Kagarise
Lynn Rehn is poised to turn the phrase “fast food” inside out.
The popular caterer and longtime local chef is ready to roll out a food truck to serve sliders, chili and a side of sass. Double D Clam Chowder, anyone?
The mobile operation for Rehn’s My Chef Lynn outfit is the latest endeavor for the former Sweet Addition head chef. Rehn plans to join the food trucks each summer Saturday at the Issaquah Farmers Market. The truck could also stop at the Fremont Sunday Street Market.
The idea for a food truck started to coalesce after Rehn and husband Tony, general manager at Evergreen Ford in Issaquah, caught episodes of “The Great Food Truck Race” — a Food Network cross-country competition among mobile kitchens.
“I looked at Tony and said, ‘That would be a cool gig,’” Rehn recalled.
(“The Great Food Truck Race” debuted in August 2010 at about the same time the national fervor for food trucks accelerated into gear.)
Rehn, eager to capitalize on the craze for the mobile kitchens, embarked on a long process to turn the food truck from clever concept to gasoline-fueled fruition.
The search for a truck started soon after. The right rig appeared after Olson’s Tack owners traded a former mobile tack shop in for another truck at Evergreen Ford.
“What is the perfect marriage but of a car dealer and a chef?” Rehn said.
The truck needed extensive changes to re-emerge as the black-red-and-yellow My Chef Lynn rig. The vanity license plate reads “MY CHEF.”
The chef behind the wheel spent a year searching for the right brioche bun to use for sliders. In the end, a soft brioche bun from a Seattle bakery emerged as a perfect fit for the beef, pork and lamb sliders Rehn plans to serve.
Rehn used techniques and tricks learned in kitchens for white-tablecloth establishments to create the menu and the strategy for the truck. She also turned to social media tools — Facebook, Foursquare, LinkedIn and Twitter — to build buzz for the truck.
What to know
Despite the emphasis on the mobile kitchen itself, food remains the top attraction. The menu borrows ingredients and techniques from cuisines around the United States and the globe.
Southern barbecue traditions influence the smoked pork and smoked brisket sliders, plus the smoked chicken thighs Rehn offers. Southeast Asia stars in a lamb slider gilded in cilantro, Srichacha and other accoutrements. The menu also includes instant pho, another nod to Southeast Asia. Patrons can add smoked brisket to the broth for “the only smoked meat pho you can get,” Rehn boasted.
The meat comes from Fischer Meats in downtown Issaquah. Dessert is chocolate from the iconic Boehm’s Candies factory in Issaquah.
Rehn, rendered on the truck exterior in a pretty-as-a-Barbie-doll avatar, mans the kitchen inside dressed in a custom black chef’s jacket. The setup is more similar to a kitchen at a landlocked restaurant, rather than the claustrophobic quarters inside many food trucks.
The commissary at the Fall City Roadhouse serves as a preparation station for the My Chef Lynn rig.
The food truck is another extension of deep involvement in the community for Rehn, a DownTown Issaquah Association board member and frequent contributor to local events.
Rehn considers the food truck a mobile billboard for Issaquah — a reason she spent months perfecting the concept, design and menu. Logos for Boehm’s Candies and Fischer Meats appear on the truck exterior.
“We didn’t want to rush anything,” she said. “We wanted to do it right.”
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.