Semi-celebrity chefs in trucks!

Last week’s Next Food Network Star saw the cheftestants competing for the affections of Miss Paula Deen by doing their best versions of gourmet food truck cuisine.

So it felt fitting that while attending the inaugural outing of the LA Flea Market, I stumbled upon last year’s also ran, Chef Debbie Lee, serving up her “mobile take on Korean pub grub” from way up high in her new lunch truck, Ahn-Joo.

She was among most excellent company at the event’s truck food court, which also included the mobile kitchens of other TV-made famous chefs, Susan Fenniger (Border Grill truck) and Ludo Lefebvre (LudoBites Fried Chicken Truck.)

While under normal circumstances, I probably would have opted for the food of Fenniger or Lefebvre (whose culinary renown came before TV fame as opposed to the path taken by Lee), it was about 10,000 degrees at Los Angeles’ Dodgers Stadium where the event was held, and the thought of eating anything warm made me want to cry.

After quick survey of the cold offerings on hand, I realized that my choices were sushi from the truck Fishlips (but a hot truck plus sushi does not equal love in my book), ice cream from Coolhaus (line too long) or the spicy soba salad from Ahn-Joo.

As there was no line to speak of Ahn-Joo, and I thought a little spice might be just what I needed to cool off, I went that way, not remembering that Ahn-Joo was the not quite Next Food Network Star’s new project. So imagine my surprise when who should take my order but no other than the somewhat cranky seeming (but it was hot so we forgive) Chef Debbie, herself.

Chef Debbie gets trucked


The menu is divided into “Small Grub”- a smattering of pickles, skewers, and kimchi; “Medium Grub”- salads, dumplings, and kimbap; and “Large Grub” – fried chicken, meatloaf, and nachos.

I went for the spicy chilled buckwheat noodles with fugi apples and Korean veggies and an order of spicy chicken and Korean peppers skewers.

I can’t say I was overly impressed with either dish.

The salad was basically an enormous wad of soba noodles, which though well cooked, majorly overwhelmed the crispy fuji apples and the Korean veggies (which ended up consisting merely of some julienned carrots, cucumbers, and red onions.) The dressing was cloying and not particularly spicy. But at least there was a hard boiled egg, as everything’s better with egg.

The skewers were better. The chicken was nicely fried and chewy and the peppers had a good crunchy char.

Overall, a general eh meal. But it came with a semi-celebrity sighting, which is always good for digestion.