Refresh catering truck: A splash of Pacific Rim

Nicole Bullard
Three Refresh employees proudly stand by the Refresh catering truck. (Audrey Davis, Event Coordinator of Refresh)

Three Refresh employees proudly stand by the Refresh catering truck. (Audrey Davis, Event Coordinator of Refresh)

For four months now, the catering truck Refresh has been wowing their customers with its food known as “Pacific Rim”, a type of Asian fusion food.

Audrey Davis is the event coordinator for Refresh, and also the mother of Aubrey Duran, the owner of Refresh.

The main chef working on the truck is Chef Jordan Hamada, who brought his Pacific Rim fusion culinary skills to Refresh. Pacific Rim is all the islands encircling the Pacific Ocean, like the Philippines, Hawaii, and Japan.

Chef Hamada used to work at Dana Point’s Wicked Garden as the Executive Chef. The restaurant is now closed and was replaced by another called Caliente.

“Duran and Chef Hamada were originally roommates and he had just got out of the food truck business because of a bad partnership. Then they began a partnership together,” Davis said.

The name ‘Refresh’ is used because many of the items on the menu are refreshing and cool, such as gazpacho, a cold fruit soup. There are also refreshments like lemonade as well.

The Refresh truck has visited Saddleback College in the previous weeks to speak to the catering class and talked about how the business works.

“They were looking for an intern and I think they got one. Then they took everybody in the class out to the truck and they sold to them, so they could show them how it worked,”Davis said.

Refresh has catered for weddings as well.

“In a lot of the receptions now they’ll have a dinner, but a lot of them are bringing in food even after dancing. Food trucks are being used a lot for that,” Davis said.

“I think that’s because it brings the gourmet aspect into it. Also there’s actually a lot of talented chefs and it’s a really great way for them to be on their own, and financially it’s cheaper to showcase their food. They have more control over it,” Davis said on the growing popularity of food trucks.

Davis and Duran, work together planning events and with general responsibilities on the catering truck. Duran is not the only owner of the truck, but she also works with co-owner Victor Orechowski.

“We’re very close. My boyfriend works on the truck, my nephew works on the truck, and my daughter’s friend works on the truck,” Davis said. “But we’ve decided now that we want to venture out and hire people we don’t know because it’s so hard sometimes when you’ve got all those dynamics going. It’s so much easier when you just have a professional relationship.”

Davis said, “We only ever have three people at the most on the truck, if we do have a really busy event we’ll have a fourth person outside the truck taking orders because it’s just too many cooks in the kitchen.”

Refresh uses personality to attract customers to their truck and fun or spontaneous acts.

“The guys are a bunch of goofballs, they start doing the robot to get people to come over and order food from us. It’s pretty fun,” Davis said. “My daughter will see kids out there and she said ‘first one of you to do the robot gets a free taco’ and they were all fighting over it. So we try to create some fun with it. It makes it funny for people working on the truck.”

Also last Friday everyone on the Refresh truck will be dressing up for Halloween, even though Halloween’s on Monday, it’s still a creative way to attract customers over to see what the menu provides.

Although the catering truck has only been around for four months, the truck has Chef Hamada who has more experience and knows more about the business.

“He has a lot of contacts and he got us our truck at a really good deal because he knew the right person to go to,” Davis said.

“The neat thing about a food truck is that you’d think that they were all really competitive and against each other but it’s not at all. Everybody networks, and if you go to a food truck and they know you’re from another truck they’ll give you free food for the most part. They want you to try their food,” Davis said.

A food truck event where the trucks are lined up in a row is called a “round-up”.

The upcoming events for Refresh include the “Farm to Food Truck Challenge” at the Angel stadium on Nov. 19. ‘Refresh’ will be one of many food trucks attending this event.