We love hearing about local Radelaide folk doing amazing things, and we love getting their inspiring stories out there even more. We caught up with 22-year-old Luke Foster, Adelaide Chef and creator of the Twisted Palate Group and Food Cart to talk about his adventures, what TPFC offer, and how you can get a taste of this fantastic concept.
Luke’s cooking career ignited as a young child after watching his grandpa cook dinner. He described this time as ‘therapeutic’ as he observed, sparking his passion for being in the kitchen. During high school Luke had a real chance to put his passion to the test, where food and hospitality became not only a subject, but also a gateway to the culinary world. Luke received Certificate 1 and 2 in Kitchen Operations at the age of 15, gained the title of Apprentice of the Year first years, and became a finalist in the SA Training Awards for all trades. He completed all this while maintaining his SACE, got accepted into a double degree in Education, and working in some of Adelaide’s most distinguished establishments.
It’s been a non-stop rollercoaster of food and adventure for Luke so far, but his concept and love for cooking hasn’t changed. He describes his ideology as “your plate is a blank canvas; it doesn’t matter who or what you are, you’re signing your name onto the plate and that’s who you are as a person; how you distinguish yourself”.
After moving to Sydney for a few months to see the industry at its highest standard, Luke became a National Operations Manager for a private company that opened juice bars around New South Wales and Victoria; before becoming a private chef in Sydney for At Your Table. Luke began to develop his own recipes and degustation menus, keeping the quality of dishes at a high while being efficient in a stranger’s kitchen, also learning business and entrepreneurial skills that helped him build a strong foundation for the Twisted Palate Group.
This is where the inspiration to cater came about for Luke when moving back to Adelaide. The Twisted Palate Food Cart is not like any other food cart… it has a full commercial kitchen packed into a 3 metre by 1.5 metre truck, being fully removable and portable to accommodate any function or menu.
“We’re creating a bit of healthy competition, as food trucks weren’t at the level I thought they could be [in Adelaide]”. Having known the in's and out's of commercial kitchens Luke explains his original plans for TPFC, “I came back home and thought ‘I have now mastered my craft, okay these are the skills I have, I’m gonna own it and start a niche’ that’s where Twisted Palate was born”. His dream today remains the same as it was when he started out: “to feed the masses” and fill the void of creative cooking that the Adelaide industry has.
The Twisted Food Palate Cart has catered from 2 people in an intimate dinner, to thousands of people at functions from weddings and engagements, to formal after parties, social clubs and even reproduced renditions of wedding dinners.
“We find collaboration is key. We’ve paired up with JP Event Management on a few parties and we’ve been lucky enough to cater for up to 600 high school kids sometimes. We want to keep this as accessible, maneuverable and as flexible as possible; we’re a commercial kitchen on wheels”.
So, as the host of your function, you want to be able to enjoy the party and not worry about serving food or what’s in the oven, right? Well TPFC makes that a reality for all their customers; they bring in the staff, supplies and ingredients, do their business and make your night a success, and take the mess with them when they go. Luke teases “sometimes we’ve left the kitchens cleaner than when we rocked up”.
While constantly growing and changing with each client, Luke loves to produce what he calls “street food fusion with a twist”, it’s real food, and he promises “you can give me six of your favourite dishes and I’ll come back to you with a rendition of them and what we can do to the best of our ability”. No menu of theirs has ever been duplicated, because with each client comes their own preference and taste. It’s forever customised to them, whether it’s sit down, cocktail, no plates, big plates - you name it TPFC will serve it!
What does the future hold for Luke and the Twisted Palate Food Cart? 2017 is shaping up to be a biggie for them. If all goes well, they’ll be trading in the CBD by next year, with a solid street basis. "We want to create a personal repour with people so when we go public on the streets, we’ll know who you are when you come by". Definitely a ‘watch this space’ kind of business.
Right now you can get hold of Luke Foster as a private chef on At Your Table, or contact him for the Twisted Palate Group and Food Cart via Facebook or phone. The mobile food truck is removable so you can even hire out the pod itself for DJing, sound and lighting, pop-up clothing stores or whatever you wish. “We’re trying to redefine the term catering because how it’s been done previously isn’t as good as it can be. We’re slowly raising the bar”.
A gift from Luke to the RADL readers: mention this article when enquiring for your next event and receive 10% discount for TPFC services! Can this guy get any cooler? We’d like to thank Luke and the Twisted Palate Group for having us at the International Womens' Inaugural Dinner, for being a great interviewee, and for being as rad as ever.
Photos and header provided via Luke Foster and This Is Radelaide Photographer Ben Neale.