The food truck has been trading since June 2018, however, El Comenzal is owned and operated by Food Forum Ltd (Company Number: 10879716 ). Which was established in 2017, by David Plato, who is the chef owner of the business and has been working as a chef since 2014.
David has held a deep passion for Mexican food since trying it for the first time when he was working in Mexico as a PADI Divemaster based in Cozumel, Mexico. It has only grown thoughout his time working as a chef.
Upon returning from Mexico, for the first time, David enrolled at the Ashburton cookery school. Upon completion of his course he had a job as prep chef at the wildly successful Bao restaurant in London.
Since that first job in the kitchens he has worked in numerous kitchens in several countries. Most recently interning at an Agriturismo Podere Il Fornacino in Italy in 2017.
Outside from the kitchen he enjoys scuba diving, weightlifting and travel.
Following my departure from the restaurant industry I was filled with the desire to get involved in the growing UK street food scene. I found the idea of street food appealing due to the freedom it affords in relation to the menu. In addition I had already been sold on the concept of street food after seeing how prevalent it was in countries such as Thailand. I was incredibly impressed by the speed, efficiency and also the quality of the street food in South East Asia.
I believed that, in the UK, street food and specifically food trucks were only going to increase in popularity. So I founded a company (Food Forum Ltd) in order to be able to properly start a business in the near future.
Although at this time I had no concept, I had originally been keen to explore a fusion food truck which had both American BBQ and Mexican food, although, in time this concept was dropped in favor of a wholly Mexican concept.
Developing the idea
Once I had my concept I needed to develop my ideas and it seemed the best place to that would be in Mexico itself, Specifically Tijuana. Due to the location of Tijuana, right on the US-Mexico border, it has attracted people from all over Mexico. Due to this you can find a great deal of varied, regional dishes from all over Mexico in this one city alone.
I spent my time, scoffing food and talking with other chefs and local people. In order to better understand the Mexican cuisine. Without this experience and newfound knowledge it is unlikely that El Comenzal would have been able to work. I will be forever grateful to those who helped me. (Many are thanked on this website, click the link below)
Upon returning to the UK in 2018 I set to work with drawing up my recipe book, a business plan and got to work with setting up El Comenzal.
After sourcing a second hand medium wheel base VW Crafter from a second hand van dealer. We were well on our way to starting the food truck.
The rear of the van was removed and a custom kitchen was built that contains 3 fridges, a 6 range oven/burner, a Cold preparation unit (saladette) and a Griddle. As well as 3 separate sinks and a water heater. (See building El Comenzal below).
The van was then wrapped in custom vehicle graphics and Food Forum took a lease on a small unit in Aylesbury. This unit was developed into our office and prep kitchen.
We launched in June 2018 and have been building momentum ever since.
Building El Comenzal
Our Food Truck was built by Wilkinson Catering, the custom made box features a 6 hob range, 3 fridges, a griddle, a drinks fridge and a saladette. All this equipment allows us to focus on providing fresh Mexican food to order. The van can be powered through mains electricity (although we have an inverter generator if there is no access to power) and there is a gas compartment which fits 3x19kg propane cylinders, which fuels our cooking equipment. Wilkinsons did a fantastic job in building our kitchen. We couldn’t be happier with how it performs.
The exterior design of our van was installed by RGVA Ltd who specialise in vehicle wraps for commercial vehicles.We worked closely with the graphic designers at RGVA to produce an eye catching exterior. We wanted to develop a a bold and eye catching design to compliment our bold and eye catching food. Below you can see a video of the wrapping process (bottom right).