Street food markets have taken off globally, and with night markets in virtually every shopping mall car park in the city, it’s fair to say Aucklanders love them. Cheap and cheerful food, lots of international flavours, they’ve become a regular night out for many families.
But there’s a revolution going on - a food truck revolution, with a philosophy of quality, nutritious food and zero waste. We are fortunate to have one such group of revolutionaries in our locality – Green Bay Street Food. And more recently, Brunch (and Dinner) at the Bay has popped up in French Bay.
Both these initiatives are the brainchild of insurance broker Marc Hershman, owner of Mama Tahina, a food truck specialising in healthy, fast, casual Mediterranean food.
For years, Marc had a secret dream of owning a food truck. His early beginnings as a chef at age 16 came to an abrupt end when he was literally kicked in the bum by his boss, deciding in that moment to go to business school instead. 20 years later he finds himself back in hospo.
With years of global wandering under his belt, Marc settled in Green Bay with his Peruvian-Japanese wife Cecilia and their two daughters. Life was good, but the food truck dream niggled until he finally shared it with Cecilia. He said to her, “We love cooking, we love Mediterranean food, let’s do this!”
Marc laughs, “She thought I was nuts. She was like, ‘yes, you’re a cook, but it’s quite a shift in our world…’, and I was like, ‘actually I’ve found a truck’”.
“And then it all started happening. Friends put us in touch with the Lucky Taco people, Otis & Sarah Frizzell - the nicest people you could meet and ‘street food royalty’. An hour and a half with them finally got me over the line. They told me everything about street food that I could possibly want to know and how hard it would be, but I needed to hear that.”
Marc was put onto Bruce from Custom Coach Building. “He’s the master,” says Marc. “He’s does motor homes and has done loads of food trucks now. I’d never have thought of the things he thought of to put in the truck. There’s not a lot he can’t do, and he’d tell you if your idea isn’t going to work.”
Marc started off at No. 1 Queen St, and by his own admission he wasn’t that good on the first day. “I left a Sistema [container] on the grill. I opened the hood and all this smoke poured out, it was a big clean up operation.”
Marc’s strongly held belief is that business should be a force of good. To that end they only use compostable packaging, source products locally where possible, use only free-range meat, and provide vegetarian and gluten free options.
Marc now runs Green Bay Street Food, which was initially a collaboration between himself and Green Bay Community House. He wanted to create a model which is sustainable, which initially as a weekly event, it wasn’t. Now monthly it’s much easier to manage.
“As a street food event we stay true to our ethos, we’d never move away from the quality of the food or the zero-waste approach that we have. That’s our thing. We’re not trying to compete with any other events out there, we’re all about community; We just want to create a place for families where you can walk down to meet your neighbours, have a glass of wine and get some of the best street food around.“
Mama Tahina is now fronted by Cecilia. Marc’s nephew Sam Lewis, who worked in Le Gavroche, Chef Michel Roux Jr’s 2-Michelin-star restaurant in London, has also joined the truck and has taken the food to another level.
Marc still has day job and works from home. He says it’s hard to balance all that he does; events, food truck, full time job, kids and family, there’s not much life left after that, “But I love it. I’m very entrepreneurial and I really enjoy street food. There’s nothing better when you have a desk job. I love to be in front of people, I enjoy the interaction - nothing in the corporate world ever ticked that box for me. Whilst street food is hard work, it’s thoroughly rewarding.
Here's the line up for Green Bay Street Food - Foodie FEAST on October 26. Jump on the event page and let them know you are GOING!
THE STREET FOOD DREAM TEAM
Mama Tahina - Mediterranean Deliciousness
Hapunan - Gourmet Filipino Food
The Rolling Pin - Sexy Modern Dumplings
Brooklyn Dogs-Free Range Hot Dogs
Pūhā & Pākehā- Modern Maori Kai
Besaha- Moroccan Crumpets and other treats
The Marilyn- Some of the best ice cream around.
Juice it Fresh Juices made in front of you
WE HAVE A LICENSED BAR (NO BYO)
Te Rata at Free Range Wine Co.. - Organic Wines, Beers, Ciders and more
Our friends Child Cancer Foundation will be joining us again. Please give generously on the night. In memory of Hine Cook. 🙏