Kelly Roberts’ work day starts early. On a typical morning, prep starts around 4 a.m. If its busy, she’s up by 3.
Since moving to Revelstoke 10 years ago, Roberts has built her reputation on cooking and baking simple foods with precision and care. Homemade ingredients, including fresh bread for sandwiches, has meant her pursuit in crafting great food can lead to early mornings.
However, according to Roberts, this extra care makes all the difference in elevating her recipes.
“I’m ‘keep it simple, stupid’ – the K.I.S.S. philosophy,” Roberts explains of her approach to cooking. “I make my own dressings and roast my own meats. So the seasonings behind things are putting the flavours in. I don’t use any store bought stuff. I make everything from scratch. I think that shows in my stuff.”
Now, with the help of her new food truck, Roberts can take her ‘K.I.S.S.’ philosophy on the road.
‘Kelly’s Luch Truck,’ a red 2003 Chevrelot Silverado customized to include a mobile cafe-style box on the tailgate, has been operational throughout Revelstoke since May 1, making 16 stops between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. from Tuesday through Friday.
After making her daily rounds, Roberts returns home to her kitchen to begin preparations for the next day.
Though a new addition to her business, Roberts says the foodtruck has been part of her plan since she first saw similar vehicles operating in Whistler over two-decades ago.
“I’ve been in the industry 23 years and I’m in the 12th year of my business plan. This was planned, the truck is the tail end of the business plan,” Roberts explains. “So I guess I’ve been thinking about it since the 1990’s.”
Roberts first moved to Revelstoke in with her husband Al in 2008, finding work as a baker at the Revelstoke Mountain Resort in its first years of operation.
Originally, Roberts hoped to own and operate her own cafe in town. After deciding the traditional ‘brick and mortar’ business was financially out of reach, she started working out of her home, converting what was once a laundry room into a full scale commercial kitchen.
“Anybody who lives in this town knows how expensive either owning a home or owning a business can be, so I have found it very beneficial working out of my home that I paid for,” says Roberts. “I feel I’m very invested working out of my kitchen.”
From there, ‘Kelly’s Baked in B.C.’ was created, offering baked goods, sandwiches, salads and pre-made meals, all made from scratch by Roberts from her home kitchen for on-demand service and catering gigs.
With help from the food truck, Roberts says her original dream of operating a cafe has been realized through different means, as she is able to directly interact with her clientele.
“The advantage of the truck for me now is I’ve got my own little store five days a week and I get to converse, once again, with the general public,” says Roberts. “Which is something I’ve always loved to do.”
|Roberts purchased her truck, a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, off Kijiji in Kamloops. After detailing the truck through the winter, it was ready for business at the beginning of May. (Nathan Kunz/Revelstoke Review)|
According to Roberts, feeding the working public has been a common thread in the work she carried out through her years in the food industry. Winter operations have brought a different clientele, with orders for skiers and adventurers occupying her business hours throughout the colder months.
Both in customer service and in the cooking itself, Roberts says her personality finds its way into her work in every facet.
“I think a lot of your personality and passion goes into it. I’m a very regimented and rule-based person and that makes for a good baker,” explains Robert. “Baking is much more scientific and exact. Cooking is more experimental.”
Over her two-decade career, Roberts says she’s seen consumers being more conscious and concerned as to where their food is coming from, a trend which works well within her business model.
“What has changed over the twenty years has been that intensity. And we’re now sitting in a position where people are more than willing to pay a fair price for quality, fresh, non-preservative, homemade goods,” Roberts explains. “And that’s always been something that my business has boasted is it’s value driven, and my product is healthy sized for the price and it is all ingredients that you can understand.”
Whether its through a corporate gig, adventure-based clientele or the working public, Roberts says the people she serves keeps the work busy and enjoyable.
“I’m drawn to the people I serve,” says Roberts. “I’ve always fed the trades, I’ve always fed the hardworking blue collar. And then I find my winter work with the heli-skiing, it’s a different calibre of clientele.”
Now nearly a month into operations with her truck, Roberts says adjustments have been made to working on the road, though some challenges still remain in place.
“Timing for me, it’s important that I’m at said location on their clock. And so far so good. But because I’m trying to fill up my clock, I haven’t anticipated the time it takes to drive,” Roberts reports as an early challenge, before pausing to consider other difficulties.
“The price of gas, how about we say that, that’s a drawback.”
This is the first in our Making it Work series, profiling people and businesses in Revelstoke who are finding creative ways to live and work in the city as the cost of living increases. Do you work three jobs so that you can afford to stay in this beautiful place? Are you going to extremes to retain good employees? We want to hear how you are making it work. Email email@example.com to share your story.