Creative catering with The Gypsy’s Lunchbox
We are often asked for our top picks when it comes to food truck catering options. This relaxed and fun-filled approach to serving your guests fabulous food can bring a new level of inclusivity and experience to a wedding celebration.
Think fun times, full bellies and an absolute non-negotiable – fantastic quality food, and plenty of it.
The Gypsy’s Lunchbox not only nails the food truck concept, but has adapted a true paddock-to-plate approach to the idea, meaning creative catering and high quality food meet to really mark their mark.
We got to know the dynamic duo behind The Gypsy’s Lunchbox, Adrian and Jess, who with an impressive culinary history under their belts, a passion for the finer things in life and some serious cheffing skills have been bringing colour to the plates of wedding catering since 2014.
Food trucks are such a vibe – what do you think makes the concept so popular for weddings and events?
Food trucks are such a low-fuss, convenient option and are perfect for the more casual weddings. They add a really fun element to a celebration and take a lot of hassle off the organisers. Adrian and I had our wedding reception in a friend’s barn and had a sit-down dinner. The food was amazing but it was so stressful – we had to hire all the kitchen equipment for the caterers (ovens etc), crockery, cutlery, glassware, tables, chairs etc…
It was also much more costly with the extra waitstaff required and extra time they needed to be onsite for with set up and clean up. We then had to pack everything up the next day and get it all back to the hire company. Food trucks can literally roll in and roll out and are entirely self-sufficient.
If you’re not after the casual vibe we have a range of premium canapes on offer too – we are so versatile.
Tell us about the idea for The Gypsy’s Lunchbox, how did it start and how has it all evolved?
Our business was first born as a collaboration between Adrian (working as a chef at the time) and my dad who is a farmer and meat wholesaler. My dad wanted us to set up a stall selling food at Springfest in Ballarat showcasing his beef and lamb. We did that a couple of years in a row just serving from a marquee with barbecues and did so well we decided to set up a small trailer. Dad found a little tandem trailer and we built in a grill on one side and coffee area on the other and came up with the name “The Gypsy’s Lunchbox” to highlight the roaming nature of our business.
From there we started taking on more and more events while still working at our regular jobs through the week and in 2017 we purchased our custom-built truck. For our honeymoon in 2017 we travelled around the US, Mexico and the Caribbean and drew so much inspiration and our focus on American food and burgers was really cemented. As our business grew, we started cutting back at our other jobs until eventually we were doing the food truck full-time. When covid hit we began offering a home delivery service around Torquay which really took off so much so that we decided to purchase a second truck at the end of 2020 when weddings and events started opening back up again. Around the same time, we went through a bit of a rebrand with our Torquay-themed truck wraps designed by local artist Jake Ross.
It seems like such a versatile option, what areas do you services and what kind of weddings can you work with?
We are happy to travel anywhere in Victoria, however travel fees apply for distances over 40km from our base in Torquay. We are very popular with the more casual weddings (think wineries, barns and marquee weddings) with guests coming up to the truck for their mains, however we can also cater for more formal weddings with roaming canape service and grazing tables.
We have even catered a sit-down wedding with crockery but our mains (predominately burgers and fries) are more suited to a casual affair.
For those who love your fare and the presence of the van, but would prefer roaming canapes – can this be accommodated?
We have an extensive list of canapes and all of our mains can also be handed around – we do quite a few weddings like this and nobody ever goes hungry! All of our burgers can also be made as sliders which are easier to eat standing up.
Our canapes can suit more formal functions with options such as caramelised onion and goats’ cheese tarts, king prawns with basil aioli and Vietnamese rice paper rolls.
What are some of your most popular menu items?
Our most popular canapes are the Vietnamese rice paper rolls as they are delicious (obviously) but also cater to just about every dietary requirement (gluten-free, vegan, nut free etc).
Our mini cheeseburgers, tacos and sliders are also extremely popular and fit the food truck vibe so well. Our burgers and fries are our most popular mains with our Angus beef and bacon burger and Southern-fried chicken burger being top choices.
Your offering is not only a focus on the creative aspect of catering and embracing the often relaxed style that food trucks allow, but you’re big on quality too, tell us about how you merge the two in what you offer on your menu.
Quality is hugely important to us, particularly in our meat. Our beef and lamb are grown locally on our family’s farm. Adrian helps out with taking care of the stock and works closely with the butchers in my dad’s business to ensure we are getting consistently great quality. He has worked with the butchers perfecting the perfect ratio of brisket and chuck in our beef burgers and annoys them constantly to make sure they are exactly the same week in and week out. We want our customers to experience the exact same product each time they eat it.
‘Paddock to Plate’ is not often a term we see associated with this style of catering, and we love it! Tell us about The Gypsy’s Lunchbox ethos and approach.
My family has built a really unique business in that they grow their own beef and lamb on their farms and then process it and sell it in their wholesale business and also their retail butchers. We are super lucky in that regard to have access to such great quality produce and have seen how it is treated throughout the whole process. This not only ensures we are getting a top-quality product, but also the lowest-possible food miles lowering our environmental impact substantially. As a chef, Adrian’s understanding of what actually makes a quality product has also grown substantially since being more involved in the process.
How does Adrian’s experience across hatted restaurants and high-volume caterers translate into the success of your business now?
Adrian completed the early part of his career working in some of Sydney’s top hatted restaurants which taught him some extremely valuable skills such as creativity, attention to detail, working well under pressure (and at speed!) as well as ingraining a respect for the produce and protein he was working with. The food truck environment is extremely fast paced and high-pressure and it is a unique person who is able to handle the pressures. Even seasoned chefs have had a shock after helping out with a busy service! We really believe one of the most important keys to our success is speed of service – at busy festivals the more serves we can pump out the more money we can make which is important with such high site fees. At weddings and events we recognise the food is one of the most important (if not the most important) elements of the day and we never want people waiting around – we are able to easily pump out 300 burgers and fries in an hour.
Before moving to Victoria his last job in Sydney was at a large healthy eating marketplace which specialised in high-volume catering – here he strengthened his knowledge on nutrition and reducing food waste emphasising the use of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. While burgers are certainly not “health food” we are often complemented on how people feel after eating our burgers – they don’t experience that heavy feeling in their tummies due to our focus on fresh, high quality ingredients.
Can a couple come and try your menu items before locking in your sublime services in?
We are more than happy for couples to come and try our burgers while considering our services – this is made much easier now that we have a regular trading location at Bells Beach Brewing from Thursday-Sunday, however now that things are starting to go back to normal covid-wise we will be at other events/markets/festival throughout the state too.
When it comes to booking your services, what is the process?
We start with a chat with the couple to determine what style of catering they’re after – canapes, mains or both. We then ask them to make some preliminary choices (nothing set in stone) so we can get them a rough quote at which point we ask for a 25% deposit to secure the booking. We don’t require final numbers and payment until a week before the event.
The wedding wraps up and the day is done…does it have to end there?
We can also offer catering the day after weddings – we did one wedding where all the guests had stayed in glamping tents overnight and we came the next morning to cater breakfast – we did a big grazing table with egg and bacon sliders, corn fritters, frittatas, fruit platters and bircher muesli pots as well as barista-made coffee.
The Gypsy’s Lunchbox – fab feasting with all the vibes, we are here for it! Reach out to Adrian and Jess for more info here: www.thegypsyslunchbox.com.