Before chef Wade Simpson started what is now voted an Outstanding Food Truck in the Valley, he had a diverse culinary background that has led him to success.
“When I started my original food truck [Bistro on Wheels] that I still use for catering, people didn’t quite understand what our niche was. They were thrown by the Bistro name, and although we were American- and French-influenced in our cuisine, the message didn’t translate,” Wade says.
Chef Wade’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese was the second brainchild of his and focused on the customer favorite at his former food truck: the truffle mushroom mac and cheese.
“I just do mac and cheese with this truck, and when we started there wasn’t another like us on the road,” he says. “We created a menu centered around mac and cheese and now have 10 to 12 different variations that we constantly change.”
Chorizo mac and cheese, New Orleans-style, lobster, even vegan—the possibilities are endless when you visit Chef Wade. And his mouthwatering array comes from his complete understanding of the food industry.
“I am a Phoenix local—a dishwasher at 13 at a little restaurant next to my mom’s barbershop on Osborne, I aspired to do more. I started cooking at 16 and have been cooking ever since.”
Wade attended California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. He then worked in the luxury hotel arena before moving back to Phoenix where he worked in the private club setting and finally realized his dream.
“I wanted my own restaurant, but starting a mom-and-pop restaurant is a difficult route. I wanted my friends to be able to eat wherever I was. I decided a food truck was the best idea for me,” he says.
Owning a food truck has its challenges.
“When you cook for a restaurant, the food comes to you, it’s delivered. With a food truck, you do the prep, the shopping, the delivery to a location, the truck loading. Then you drive to a destination, execute the event and clean the truck after. You hope nothing goes wrong because it’s not only about the food, it’s about vehicle maintenance as well.”
Wade says that overall owning his food truck is the best decision he ever made.
“It’s a beautiful thing to not have to ever ask permission,” he says. “When I changed my vision, my graphic team rewrapped the truck and I was done. The idea and concept can just happen when you own the business.”
Wade’s unique business model includes his mac and cheese food truck as well as his bistro, which provides catering for large private events. From a plated meal to a buffet, Wade can accommodate an array of culinary needs.
“Local ingredients are key. I use Shamrock Farms cream, French’s Meats on McDowell and local cheese from the Dairymen’s Association,” he says.
For the perfect fall food truck experience, check out Chef Wade’s Instagram and Facebook page for weekly updates on where he will be in Scottsdale.
“Fall is ideal for a visit to the mac and cheese truck, where my visitors can try Philly mac and cheese, Sicilian mac and cheese, chicken fajita mac and cheese and many other flavors. We look forward to serving you,” he says.
For more information, call 602.301.8672 or visit ChefWadesMacAndCheese.com.
Anatomy of a Food Truck
- 36-inch griddle on top of oven
- Six-burner stove on top of oven
- Three-pot sink with cover for a counter
- Coffin freezer
- Standup cooler
- Sandwich counter
- Handwashing sink
- Two standard ovens
- Large generator