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Gilded Tomato™ Company - Food Truck Interview

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EricW //

Every now and then, my very first introduction to a newly discovered food truck is seeing it traveling down the road. Then, as a bit of an adventure, I track them down and introduce myself. I've had these wonderful food truck experiences along the way in places like the Newark, Delaware area, Raleigh North Carolina, and motoring through Jersey City, New Jersey. It is always a thrill for me to notice a food truck traveling on the same road. It is even a bigger thrill if it is a truck I've not seen or heard of before. And in the case of the New Jersey truck, I actually followed the truck into a gas station to make the introduction. I am, indeed, a food truck junkie!

Anyway, we now have over 150 food trucks and trailers on that serve pizza as their primary staple! That's alot of pizza! One of those is the Gilded Tomato™ Company is based in Rehoboth, MA, and from there, serves Massachusetts and Rhode Island. I learned about the Gilded Tomato™ Company by first seeing them on the road. It was particularly memorable because I recall seeing a trailer in the distance with what appeared to be a pizza oven. The sunlight was reflecting brightly and it was hard to tell if it was indeed a pizza oven or just another example of me seeing food trucks everywhere. See junkie comment above! But, sure enough, it was indeed a copper dome pizza oven that I would later find out is nicknamed Gilda. Who doesn't like that nickmame for a mobile pizza oven?

A month went by before I was finally able to eat a wood-fired artisan pizza from Gilded Tomato™ Company. The pizza was hot, fresh, tasty and crisp, just the way I like it. 

It's now been just about six months since Julia Sweet, Gilda, and her tomato team hit the road with her pizza trailer. I took a few minutes and asked her to share her experiences of being a newer mobile food vendor. 

Eric:  Were you in the food service business before you started the Gilded Tomato™ Company in June of 2013? 

Julia: I owned Fitness Mom® Studio and Muscles and Minds™ Afterschool Program, where we had personal training, fitness and martial arts classes, as well as a full academic enrichment program for the children.  Our “Team Tomato” is also into fitness, wellness and healthy lifestyle, participating in Yoga, Cross Fit and Martial Arts.  

Eric:  My first experience with your truck was seeing your unique dome in the distance. Tell me more about your pizza oven and trailer?  

Julia:  The copper oven creates great curiosity.  A lot of people take her picture when we are out and about - we find this rather amusing. The oven is 100% organic - no asbestos - and architecturally magnificent. The oven rotates a full 360 degrees, enabling us to configure out set-up into various spaces.  We have named our oven, “Gilda”, because of her copper dome (Gilda seemed like a name reminiscent of the Gilded Age). Gilda cooks pizzas in an amazing 90 seconds at 1000-plus degrees - yet her exterior is cool to the touch.  The special wood we use imparts a great flavor and aroma which gathers a crowd - probably because it brings back cozy memories of home and holidays. 

Eric: I personally have a love affair with pizza. Help me to describe what makes your pizza so unique and tasty?

Julia: Each pizza is individually crafted with great attention paid to the process from dough to toppings. Our three-day dough recipe was created by our mentor Cyril Hitz, a world renowned baker and professor at JWU. We take great care in choosing our ingredients. Each pizza is made with as many local and fresh ingredients as feasible and available.  

Eric: Do you work on Gilded Tomato™ Company yourself?

Julia: Yes, at almost every event. It would not work for me to be an absentee owner. I like to roll up my sleeves and do the hard work alongside the rest of the team. They are great, hardworking people - and it is fun to be doing this together.  I really see and appreciate their efforts. Of course I take care of the day to day business tasks as well.  One of the greatest rewards of working on the truck is meeting and chatting with the customers. It makes all the hard work worthwhile.

Eric: What is something that is different than what your expectations were going into starting a mobile food business?

Julia: You can’t be complacent and sit back - every aspect of the business needs to be constantly honed and refined. I am constantly learning and re-learning in order to succeed and grow your business. 

Eric:  What do you think is the greatest miss-conception about running a food truck?

Julia:  The sheer number of hours it takes to do the job well.  Even though it takes only 90-seconds to bake a pizza for the customer the amount of time it takes to prepare our menu, source our ingredients, and prepare for a shift, are things that most customers would not fully understand without doing it. We do it because we are passionate and love what we do. 

Eric: What city's food truck scene would you most like to visit and why?

Julia: New York! You don’t ever have to enter a restaurant, or cook at home. You could just go from truck to truck.  Also, San Francisco, I love the California healthy farm-to-table food scene.

You can learn more about Gilded Tomato™ Company and where to find them throughout Southern New England at