It may not be peak summer, but when you read all about new Aberdeen food truck Croque, a trip to the beachfront will be in order.
Originally from Glasgow, chef Derek Park opened the hatches to Croque – a nod to the classic French grilled sandwich, croque monsieur – earlier this month.
Located at the Fittie end of the beach, along with the likes of Sweet Toots Cakery, Chimmy and Moshi Moshi, the truck will be bringing something different to the increasingly-popular food scene there.
Grateful for decade-long cheffing experience that has lead him to the Aberdeen food truck scene
The 36-year-old has been a chef for 10 years and worked in some of Glasgow’s most successful restaurants.
They include The 78, The Crabshakk – which Derek says is “without a doubt the city’s best seafood restaurant” – Ox & Finch, and Julie Lin Macleod’s first restaurant Kopitiam.
He then operated his own street food business, Masa, selling authentic corn tacos at markets, pop-ups, cafes and bars with good friend Ewen Hutchinson, the owner of Shrimpwreck in Edinburgh.
Fast forward a few years, Derek relocated to the north-east with his fiancée. He was “eventually able to put a plan together to purchase and renovate a food trailer.”
With that, Croque was born.
“I knew I wanted something semi-permanent but wasn’t quite at the stage of taking on a brick-and-mortar unit to open a cafe,” says Derek.
“The trailer seemed like the perfect solution.
“It took me the best part of a year to complete the renovations and apply for my hot food license from the council, which is quite the labyrinth to navigate.”
Take it cheesy at new food truck Croque – here’s what’s on the menu…
Croque, open from 11am to 4pm Thursday to Sunday, currently serves soup, soft drinks and four different toastie varieties.
Classic ham, Kimcheese, haggis, and mac ‘n’ cheese are among them. The latter was added to the menu due to popular demand.
Derek, who now lives in Kingswells, said: “My favourite has to be the classic ham and cheese. For me, it’s the perfect balance of salty and savoury.
“I use a good quality prosciutto cotto (cooked ham), two types of cheddar, comté, cheese sauce, French’s mustard and Dutch pickles.”
He went on to say: “I’m sourcing my bread from The Bread Maker.
“It’s a perfect blend of sourdough and bloomer giving a lovely waxy crust, and at the same time is still light enough so it’s not too dense.”
Croque toasties cost £7.50, while the soup and drinks are priced at £3 and £1.50, respectively.
‘It is fantastic to see the food scene flourishing down at the beachfront,” says Derek
Derek considered Aberdeen beach as an appealing place to set up shop as it “draws a crowd pretty much all year round.”
However, there was another factor that encouraged him to open Croque there.
“The community feel with the other traders was something I wanted to be a part of,” he added.
“And it is fantastic to see the food scene flourishing down at the beachfront.
“What’s better on a Sunday than a big walk with the family along the beachfront, stopping off for a soup and a toastie to warm the hands up?
“The city’s food and drink scene [as a whole] has improved so much in the two years that I’ve lived here and I’m very happy to now be a part of that.”
Currently operating Croque as a one-man band, Derek will be looking for “the right person to help with the business” in the future.
“Everyone I have met in the industry so far has been people with great ideas, great work ethics and a passion to create great products which, for me, is a recipe for success when it comes to the service industry scene in general.”
For more on Croque (plus the food truck’s opening hours), visit the business’ Instagram profile – Croque_toasties.