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When Your Business Partner is Mom

5 Questions with Food Truck Owner Natasha Goellner And Her Mom

Three generations of women Vicki and Natasha Goellner, with Natasha's daughter Edelweiss, have made the food truck business a family affair. (Photo: Daniel Boothe | Flatland)
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French Culinary Institute-trained pastry chef Natasha Goellner is embarking on a new adventure this summer, her new food truck Cirque de Sucre. This “circus of sugar” will feature French macarons, treats, and high-end ice cream in the hope of delighting foodies around the Kansas City area and beyond. And in her corner Goellner has found the perfect business partner for her next venture: Mom.

This Mother’s Day, Flatland sat down with Goellner (a new mom herself) and her Mother, Vicki Goellner, to learn more about their business, and how working as a mother and daughter team is the perfect partnership in the food truck world.

Flatland: Take me back to the beginning: How did you come up with the idea of opening a food truck, and how did mom come on board?

Natasha: Well, we owned Mulberry & Mott already, which is a retail shop, and the idea of the food truck was to be free from always being at one place all the time. And not having to pay rent on a food truck is really great … and it gives us a ton of freedom, especially now since I have a baby. There is so much freedom in the sense that if it rains outside, we don’t have to be open, we don’t have to go anywhere, we can just stay home if we want to.

Vicki: Absolutely, and you know, we’ve been partners since we started in 2005, and we have always loved the idea of a food truck, this is perfect for us, just like Natasha said, now that she has the baby, we can not go out one day if we want, we can take the weekend off if we want, and get to spend more time together as a family.

Your food truck will be open in three weeks. What kind of food will you serve, and what was the inspiration behind designing your menu?

Natasha: Well, we will have some Mulberry & Mott items on the truck, we started this ice cream company called “Splits and Scoops,”…

Vicki: And Natasha also has a chocolate company, so…

Natasha: Which has NOT launched yet, so Mom, let’s not bring that up! And I should clarify that the truck will be ready in three weeks, and we are going to be at the event “No Child Goes Hungry Smackdown,” which might have to be our official opening. But I have to learn how to drive this truck first because it is enormous. [Laughs.] …. As far as food, it is a truck that will carry all of the different things that we do: It will carry the French macarons, which is what Mulberry & Mott is famous for, the chunk cookies that they are famous for, and it is going to carry ice cream in the summer time. In the fall we will do pastries and breakfast, and as the seasons change, so will the menu. No one will want ice cream in December, so we will of course do Christmas pastries then.

As more and more food trucks emerge, the industry is not only booming, but becoming increasingly competitive. What advantages do you feel you have with mom as your business partner?

Natasha: I don’t know if it has anything to do with the industry, but I can always make her drive the truck. [Both laugh.] I mean this truck is huge, it’s 20 feet long. I am not planning on running into anything, but if I did, I can just say, “OK, you are driving the truck, and you have to do it because I am your daughter.” [Both laugh.] …But she kind of has to do things for me that others don’t necessarily have to do, because she is my mom. Right?

Vicki: That’s right, that’s right. Between you and me: She doesn’t know this yet, but there is no way I am driving that truck.

Natasha: And what she doesn’t know is that I am not driving it either. [Both laugh.]

So mom, I am sure you are proud of your daughter. What has it been like to start a business with someone you used to spoon feed, and are you excited at the new adventure?

Vicki: I am very excited, I have enjoyed every minute of being in business together, and I don’t see a time when we won’t do something together, no matter what it is. And yes, I am so excited for the food truck because, we get to have Edelweiss (Natasha’s 13-month-old) with us more …. It is going to be fun.

So ladies, the gloves are coming off. Who is the better cook?

Vicki: Oh my goodness, Natasha. No question. Not even close. She is a trained French pastry chef. She taught me. No question.

Natasha: Thanks, mom.

Mom-and-Daughter Macarons | Natasha and Vicki’s recipe to the perfect French macaron

Ingredients:

40 grams Egg Whites

5 ¾ oz. Sugar

⅓ cup water

⅛ oz almond flour

Makes approximately 24-36 macarons.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine water and sugar in small pan. Bring sugar mixture to soft ball stage. 235 to 245 degrees.

Start whisking egg whites in stand mixer when sugar starts to boil. Bring to medium stiff peaks.

Pour sugar mix down the side of the bowl of the meringue, while running on low. Turn mixer on high and whip until mixture is shiny and meringue is stiff and holds its shape.

Combine almond flour mix with meringue and fold by hand until the mixture is smooth.

Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch plain round tip, and pipe 3/4 -1 inch rounds, and 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temp for 15 minutes, or until skin has formed on surface. Reduce oven temp to 325 degrees. Place baking sheet on top rack of oven.

Bake one sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10 min. If they are turning brown you need to lower your temp. After each batch, increase oven to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees.

Let macarons cool on sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Sandwich two same size macarons with 1 teaspoon filling of your choice. Some options: fruit preserves, buttercream, or chocolate ganache.

Serve immediately, or store in airtight container for two months.

— Daniel Boothe is a reporter for Kansas City Public Television’s Hale Center For Journalism. To reach Boothe, email him at dboothe@kcpt.org 

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