For five months, Jessie Stament, owner of Refueler Mobile Cafe, hand washed all the dishes from his Filipino food truck in a small catering kitchen. “We shared the space and only had a five-burner stove to do our prep,” he remembers. But he’s happy to report his dishpan-hand days are done thanks to Duvall Event’s new 4,300-square-foot prep kitchen. The DHEC-approved building, which sits on two acres, has become not only Duvall’s event headquarters, but a rental space for Charleston’s food trucks and small culinary operations.
Businesses such as Refueler, Outta My Huevos, Cast Iron Food Truck, and Chef Ann’s Gourmet to You were the first to sign on to use the state-of-the-art space and its tools. “We have 24/7 access to dishwashers, coolers, prep tables, and ranges,” says Stament. Plus, thanks to a gated parking lot, he can leave his truck, literally his bread and butter, safely at Duvall regardless of what hour of the day he’s cooking.
For the growing food truck scene, it’s a welcome and necessary development, as trucks are required by law to prep in DHEC-approved sites. Up until now, limited options have left owners cooking in church kitchens and other small facilities. But for Stament, it’s more than just a fancy kitchen to prepare his sweet and sour chicken, pork adobo, and lumpia—it’s a place for culinary camaraderie. “I get to pick the Duvall staff’s brains. They’re prepping food for huge events, so they have great ideas on techniques. That’s really helpful,” says Stament.
Duvall CEO Steve Wenger agrees that the ultimate goal was to craft a mutually beneficial space. “While I need to pay for a new investment, I can honestly say that the idea of having a creative food ‘center’ is the main focus,” he notes. “We have great resources to share, not just food knowledge and equipment, but business advice and support, too.” From small businesses to one of the biggest catering companies in the state, Duvall’s new space offers at least one place where there can never be too many cooks in the kitchen.