Chef Hardy’s Green Kitchen On Wheels
Wednesday - March 30, 2011
With the increasing popularity of food trucks, it was only a matter of time before an innovative chef took the traveling food concept and kicked it up a bit. chef Eberhard “Hardy” Kintscher, longtime executive chef at Michel’s at the colony Surf, is the owner of what’s likely the only food-safe, certified electric car in the country.
“It’s street legal and food-certified,” says Kintscher, who modified his electric car to include gas grills, a warming station and even a fully functional sink.
While most chefs are happy to hone their culinary skills and keep them in the kitchen, Hardy has always had an affinity for anything with wheels and moving parts.
“It started with my father telling me I could only ride a bicycle if I fixed my own flats,” says the affable chef, who decided to pursue a career in cooking instead of mechanics because, he says, he could memorize recipes easier than math equations.
For the past three weeks, chef has been driving his mobile electric cooking car to the Kcc farmers market, serving up gourmet burgers, sausages and meatballs using Big Island red veal. “I’m proud to be able to help the Big Island ranchers,” says Kintscher, “and this is a unique way to introduce people to the taste of this healthy, locally farmed meat.”
I freely admit to wolfing down a breakfast of his loco moco made with a veal patty, sautéed onions, and rice topped with a fresh island egg, and I hungrily finished the gourmet veal burger served up on a warm, toasted bun hot off the grill.
But don’t let the mobile car or images of a greasy, smoky grill fool you into thinking this is just your average market food stall. Instead, what you’ll find when you stop by Kintscher’s booth is a detailed, highly sophisticated, sparkling clean mobile kitchen.
Where there should be greasy grill grates, he has installed modified covers made from kettle barbecue lids, the tops fitting perfectly over large sauté pans on which Hardy can cook almost anything. The first two weeks he served up fresh island fish en papillote - the kind of dish you might expect to see at Michel’s, but certainly not at an outdoor market in the middle of the city. “The papillote was a big success,” says Kintscher. “I think people were very surprised at the quality of the food.”
The dishes - and Kintscher’s ingenuity - are reason enough to fight the farmers market crowds next Saturday morning anytime after 7:30. It’s not often you see a completely unique idea in action - and one where the results are utterly delicious.
The busy chef is already starting to get requests from savvy foodies familiar with his European, island-influenced cuisine, and that’s just fine with Kintscher, who considers the hours spent on Saturday morning a blessing.
“at Michel’s we’re very lucky we are so busy,” he says modestly. “This gives me a way of spending time with my daughters and my girlfriend Lexi, where we’re all working together. It’s so nice to have something like this in our life.”
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