Wasting Time With…The Treats Truck

The Treats Truck has been brightening my dull office Wednesdays since 2007 and that’s when my entire office looks forward to indulging in Mexican chocolate brownies, peanut butter sandwich cookies and pecan butterscotch bars. Kim Ima, the truck’s proprieter, is one of those special people who makes the City such an amazing place and I was lucky enough to waste some time with her.

1. What’s a typical day like out on the road in the truck?  Can you tell us what your schedule entails?

Well, we start pretty early in the morning with baking and prepping all the treats for the day. We get the truck all gussied up and ready to roll and load in the treats, then I drive the truck over the Manhattan bridge to our spots for the day. We usually have a lunch time spot and a late afternoon spot.

2. Do you have formal training as a pastry chef?  If not, where did you learn to bake so well? Are these all your original recipes?

I have no formal training. I like to say I’m like a grown up girl scout earning her baking badge! I’ve always loved baking. I like to play around with recipes I know well, as well as recipes from family, friends and old cookbooks. The Treats Truck recipes are a collection of recipes from family, friends and old fashioned tried and true recipes. Sometimes I tweak them a little, sometimes they are perfect as is!

3.  How did you go from point A to point B once you figured out that this was what you wanted to do?  How did you pull together the funds, find the truck and decide what pastries to sell?

It took about 1 1/2 years to get everything together. I borrowed a lot of money, I did a lot of recipe testing. I bought an old used CNG truck I found on eBay and got it fixed up. I worked with an awesome graphic designer, Austyn Stevens, on the logo and branding. I got all the permits and licenses. A number of vendors took me under their wing and gave me advice and support.  It was quite an adventure!

4. How do you decide where to bring the truck?  Do you have a favorite place to sell?

It can take a while to establish a spot. I have about 7 regular spots, and I like them all. Each spot has a personality and I have regulars at each one!

5. What has been your most gratifying experience while out on the streets?

No question at all-the customers. They are the best part, hands down. I have the best customers in the world, and it is a pleasure.

6. What are your favorite NYC food trucks?

I have many buddy trucks and we give each other food all the time, and I love it all! In terms of sweets, The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck is one of my favorites!

7. What are some of your favorite places to eat/drink/hang out in NYC?

In my neighborhood, Taim is a great take out place and The New French for a nice but not too fancy sit down meal. I miss Florent, which was pretty close to my apt and always a treat. On a day off, my favorite breakfast/lunch spot is Shopsin’s.  And, I love getting finger food or sandwiches and heading to a park or pier with friends.

8. When you aren’t at the Treats Truck, where can we find you doing?  What are some of your other hobbies or endeavors?

The Treats Truck keeps me really busy, so my free time is limited. I love walking around the city. When I can, I see a play, movie or go to a museum but it’s rare. Time at home is the biggest treat, actually!

9. What are some of your favorite films or TV shows?

I’m a sucker for Project Runway and Top Chef. A few of my fav films of recent years: The Cats of Murikatani (a doc), School of Rock (kinda old…but if I catch it on tv I have to watch), and The Visitor by Tom McCarthy.

10. What’s your favorite way to waste time?

Hanging out with friends, playing cards or Scrabble, just being home and being with my crazy collection of papers, books and tchotchkes!

11. What do you love most about the city?

Even if you are just going about your day, you are a part of the city. You feel it. In little ways, you add to the day. That’s not true in every city I’ve lived in, or, at least, not for me.


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