Nonna’s Kitchenette is an Italian catering business founded by three Jersey girls. They also had the opportunity to be on the show lead by Food Network’s own Tyler Florence, The Great Food Truck Race. After various challenges they made it to 2nd place, check out my interview below with Jessica Stambach one of the ladies of Nonna’s Kitchenette and got the 411 on how they started and what’s in store for their future!
SCBD: Thanks for letting me interview you. It was great to meet you and see fellow Jersey Girls on The Great Food Truck Race. I have a few questions. How did you all meet? Have you all always been foodies and love to cook? What part of New Jersey are you all from?
JS: Lisa & I met in Pre-school and Lisa actually met Jaclyn out in Los Angeles when both of them were living there. I then met Jaclyn through Lisa.
We all have Nonna’s who passed down recipes and their love for cooking. Growing up in households where food was everything, as adults we continue to share the love for cooking.
Lisa & Jessica are from Parsippany, New Jersey. Jaclyn is from West Caldwell.
SCBD: What inspired you to start Nonna’s Kitchenette?
JS: Well Lisa & I knew for years we wanted to share our love for cooking with everyone. However, she lived in California and I lived here in New Jersey. Several years later she moved home and sure enough we got started right away on creating a catering company and questioning the idea of a food truck.
SCBD: How did you find out about The Great Food Truck Race?
JS: I had watched previous seasons of the show and thought how great it would be if we could be on it, although we didn’t have a truck yet but we were looking at some. Lisa and I kept checking back for the casting of the show and one day there it was and in the best possible scenario. They were looking for people who have always wanted to own a food truck and start the business but people who have never owned or operated one before. We thought for sure right then and there it was meant to be.
SCBD: What was your favorite challenge on the show?
JS: I would say our favorite challenge was the French toast challenge. We won!
SCBD: What was your least favorite?
JS: I would say the cactus challenge but not because of the taste but because I had cuts in my hands for days!
SCBD: What was a lesson the three of you gained from the show?
JS: There is no specific lesson we learned as we learned everything about running a food truck from the inside and out. It was the best thing that could have happened to us because we truly got to experience all the aspects of it.
SCBD: Since you are all Italian, what’s the secret behind the Nonna’s Kitchenette meatballs?
JS: Well surely, the answer to this is love & of course fresh ingredients. Plus some fun twists like adding fresh chopped basil & fontina cheese.
SCBD: What was your favorite dish to cook on the show?
JS: I wouldn’t say we had a favorite to cook because they were all so great. Especially because they were all loved by everyone!
SCBD: What’s a personal recipe you recommend to an amateur chef like me? Who taught you this recipe?
JS: Well I would say our meatballs or our French toast recipe. We used flavors we grew up with but with our own twist. So we really self taught ourselves them. However, they’re our little secret!
SCBD: What was a motto you ladies lived by during the Great Food Truck Race?
JS: Our motto was to hustle always. We just had to give it our all, all the time!
SCBD: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting a career?
JS: I would first say to follow your dream but also to remember that things do not come easy and that you have to give it your all to succeed.
SCBD: What’s next for Nonna’s Kitchenette? Where do you think the three of you will be in 5 years?
JS: Currently Nonna’s Kitchenette is launching in Los Angeles with hopes to shortly launch in New Jersey soon after. I am most excited about writing a cook book based on my Nonna’s recipes and some of my own. I would hope to see my cook book published and doing well. As for the girls I cannot speak for them but I would say running the food trucks on the East and West coasts.
Look out for more interviews on the way! Happy Eating!