The following is a letter exactly as I received it. You gotta love this man's enthusiasm!
My first season is sadly coming to an end. We have had a difficult summer; a long spring meeting with an early autumn. I have worked about 500 hours on my cart, leaving only about 500 more hours until my certification as a Journeyman Cook (French Chef/Classical Training). The local newspaper did an article on me, and I had to hire a waitress for Fridays and Saturdays.
I simmer my Nathan kosher dogs in beef stock and merlot red wine. My hamburgers and sausages are steamed over beef stock and zinfandel wine. I make three home-made condiments... a sweet and spicy onion sauce, a mustard relish and a jalapeno chutney with chipotle, adobo sauce, apple sauce and lime juice. Nothing on my cart is three days old. Small batch cooking and fresh products have made the difference. I use vine-ripened tomatoes, romaine hearts for lettuce and provolone cheese, which matches beef and red wine so well. Next season, I shall be baking my own buns and grinding my own patties for hamburge
rs. I want to make my own sausages as well, but Nathan hot dogs shall always remain. People here didn't want anything to do with pork, so I chose to use a premium hot dog. In fact, my cart went "all beef" and the customer response was amazing. My demographic was blue-collar workers, and I really won them over. However, seeing moms and little kids come on Saturdays encouraged me to buy some folding chairs and tables, covered with checkered cloths, just like a bistro in Paris. When I invite my guest to dine on the patio, they forget I'm set up in a vacant lot beside a liquor store. I have made a bit of magic in my community and I am so pleased.
I have had to live on the cart earnings for over a month, owing to a chest injury. Regular restaurant work was too he
avy while I heal. My cart saved me. Furthermore, I have earned nearly ten thousand dollars in this short season, and I have put it all into reducing my college debt.
My little business shall be into black ink (making a profit) early next spring. However, my clients are actively looking for covered, heated space for me. They want my food to continue, and I owe much of it in three directions. First, hard work and careful planning. Second, proper training and dreaming. Finally, your cart made the difference. It was just the right "kitchen" for me. Small in size, massive in performance, this cart was a "force-multiplier", as we learned in the infantry.
I anticipate opening my first regular restaurant in the next few months. This will be my second restaurant since my college training, and I haven't fully certified yet. My success has been so wonderful, two business owners have offered me their restaurants (decisions pending) and the most creative chef in our city has hired me part-time.
Thank you for helping me achieve and exceed my dreams, in spite of adversity. Next month, I shall be fifty-three years old. I am a disabled military and police veteran. Nothing is impossible, with dreams, hard work and a proper kitchen.
You, Ben, gave me my kitchen. You gave me the tools to win. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.