The Rise of Gourmet Food Trucks and the Changing Nature of Authenticity

This webinar will be hosted via Zoom, please register using the link.

Originating in Los Angeles in 2008, gourmet food trucks represented a new kind of organisation that differed from earlier street vending by serving distinctive and upscale products that required skill and expertise to produce and using Twitter to connect with customers across a region. Rather than conform to the gritty expectations for street vendors, gourmet food trucks developed value through claims to a new kind of authenticity that valorised innovation and the blurring of traditional categorical expectations.

In this talk, Daphne and Todd will have a conversation over their mixed-methods research on gourmet food trucks. They will discuss how they used their unique Twitter data set to track how gourmet food trucks initially emerged through an uneven pattern across the United States and how interviews with truck entrepreneurs revealed the important role of local communities in this emergence. They will also discuss some of their new research on the impact of gourmet food trucks on the greater culinary landscape, and in particular how the trucks have helped shift audience tastes towards appreciating and desiring a new hybridised form of cuisine (i.e., fusion).