You know what’s even better than food? Food on wheels.
Why? Because it makes me feel like it’s coming to me.
So the big city craze that is food trucks has officially come Red Deer, and my favourite thus far has to be Queen Bees: Frites and Sweets. I dare say dessert is the best part of any meal, and it’s the foundation of this adorable mobile institution. Lucky for you savoury lovers, these women are amazingly thoughtful and have created a menu suited for salty and sweet lovers alike. So on Wednesdays you can not only wear black instead of pink (Mean Girls reference…anyone?), but you can also eat fries and drink watermelon juice and inhale French Macarons.
Queen Bees is a relatively new presence here in town. Started by twin sisters Carmen and Cassandra this past May, they spent a lot of time in Sylvan throughout the summer. That didn’t stop them from taking our town or tastebuds by storm, however, and soon I had all sorts of people telling me I had to try this food truck. I sought them out at the Sylvan Lake Farmers’ Market (so I guess I technically went to them….) and ordered the taco fries and the New York cheesecake. It was love at first bite. It made the whole me going to them thing totally worth it.
Cassandra and Carmen love to bake and strive to serve delicious food. Their idea is you shouldn’t have to drive to a big city to have an amazing dining experience, and it’s one that we at Meet the Makers whole heartedly believe in. But I’ll let the women speak for themselves. Cue the Q & A!
Elysha: What was it about a food truck that was appealing?
Carmen: Well we love to bake. We always had these ideas of running a business but didn’t really know what it was going to be. We had never run a business before and both have children, so we felt like we would be taking a risk with the food truck. But we just needed to get into something because we really wanted to. Food trucks are getting so big in the bigger cities, but not so much in Red Deer.
Cassandra: The food truck allows us to connect with all different groups of people all over the place.
Carmen: And it’s affordable too. We thought we could start with opening a food truck, see how it goes, and then maybe open up a storefront. That’s our long term goal.
Elysha: So you started baking when you were young?
Carmen: Yes. We just have a love for food, and it’s our stress reliever.
Elysha: What are your favourite desserts to bake?
Cassandra: The chocolate ganache cakes or the creme brûlée are my favourites.
Carmen: Mine is probably the macarons.
Elysha: So then why serve fries?
Cassandra: We were just going to do a dessert truck, but we wanted to appeal to everybody. We want everyone who comes to our truck to love something whether it’s the watermelon juice, which is pure and super healthy, or the indulgent fries and desserts.
Carmen: And we love fries. Everything on our menu are things that we love.
Elysha: What are your favourite macaron flavours?
Cassandra: Probably toasted coconut and Earl Grey. We’ve been creating so many new flavours for Christmas.
Carmen: Every time we make a new flavour we say, “Oh my gosh, this is our fave!” We get a lot of requests for things, too.
Cassandra: We just made english toffee, and it’s amazing. We did strawberries and cream which we’ve never done before, and it’s amazing too. All of them are so good.
Elysha: How much trial and error do you experience then?
Cassandra: Oh gosh, lots. We’re kind of perfectionists too, so we want everything we serve to be perfect.
Carmen: I think that comes from years of preparation. We’ve made a lot of these things before, so when the food truck started we had mastered everything. Except the french macaroons because they depend on temperature and weather, and everything has to be right for them to work. Those can be trial and error.
Elysha: Are you continually creating new recipes?
Carmen: We have a huge book that we pull from. We also draw inspiration from the seasons because we like to use really fresh products.
Elysha: How often are you baking when the food truck is in full swing?
Carmen: Weekly. We have to split it up sometimes, so [Cassandra] will do the baking, and I’ll do the fry prep and the aiolis. It can be kind of crazy because we bit off a lot, but we wouldn’t have it any other way because we always go big.
Elysha: So did you feel there was a market for what you had to offer in Red Deer?
Carmen: Yes. We felt like we had something different to offer the community. We’re bringing some elegance to the whole fries thing, and a lot of people didn’t know what French Macarons were. Still don’t. We’ll do markets and people will think they’re soap, so it’s really nice to offer people things that they may have never tried. But there is still something for everyone.
Elysha: How do you balance Queen Bees and your families?
Carmen: It’s one day at a time, but we’re both farm girls so we just love to work really hard. It’s in our blood. I think we thrive off of it. And we have all of these ideas and want to take Queen Bees further and further, but we can only do little bits at time. That motivates us too: the idea of what this can become.
Elysha: What motivates you to keep growing?
Carmen: Nothing is worse than going out and spending your hard-earned money on food and an experience that’s garbage. You’re very rarely blown out of the water, and that’s one of our goals. We strive to make everything a ten out of ten. We want people to taste our food and know that everything is real. Everything on our truck is homemade. The fries are made to order, our aiolis are homemade, and all of our desserts are made from scratch. The cream is hand whipped, and it’s real whipped cream. When people eat our food, we want them to feel like it was worth it.
Elysha: What do you want your customers and your future customers to know about you?
Cassandra: We want them to know that we do this out of love and passion. We hope that when they eat our food that translates through. To have that connection with other people through something that we love so much is the greatest gift for us.
Carmen: It’s not about the money. It’s about bringing these families together to share a meal. Food truck events are so amazing because we’ll see a group of people who are often stranger sitting together at one table.
Cassandra: It’s a cool thing to be a part of.
Even though the sun is now setting as soon as it rises and their charming yellow food truck is winterized (the truck is seasonal and runs from May to October), fear not. Queen Bees will be back this spring with an abundance of frites and sweets, and they are aiming to be a part of even more events right here in Red Deer. Add them to your list of things to look forward to in 2017!
You can find Queen Bees on:
Their Website: http://www.queenbeesfoodtruck.com
Their Twitter: https://twitter.com/thehiveqb
Their Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/queenbeesfoodtruck/
Their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/queenbeesfoodtruck/
Source: Meet the Makers, https://meetthemakersab.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/queen-bees-food-truck/