Say Cheese! 5 minutes with... Mathew Carver, founder of The Cheese Bar
We caught up with Mathew to talk toasties, cheese, opening a restaurant, cheese, street food and some more cheese!
Apart from the dairy connection, an ice cream truck doesn't seem like an obvious place to sell grilled cheese sandwiches... How did The Cheese Truck story begin?
I was very kindly gifted the ice cream van by a friend of mine who no longer needed it! Having just returned from travelling the States, I had an addiction to grilled cheese sandwiches and it felt like the a good idea to make use of the new set of wheels! 3 years on and it seems like it was one of my better ideas..
You spent three months working in a bakery, learning about bread and baking, what else did you do to immerse yourself in the world of grilled cheese sandwiches?
EATING! I’ve probably eaten more grilled cheese sandwiches then any man should, whether it be sampling the competition or menu development. I’ve eaten an unhealthy amount of melted cheese…
What has been your coolest/most exciting/most stressful grilled cheese sandwich experience so far?
There have been many exciting/stressful moments over the years! Running a street food business means no two days are ever the same. We’ve had fridges breakdown in fields, van crashes, been to the desert and back in our truck and much more...
How many toasties do you think you have served out to the masses to date?
That’s a tricky question but I’d say we’re probably over the 500,000 mark by now!
Obviously the majority of your experience is in street food catering, how does opening a bricks and mortar restaurant compare?
It’s very different and a lot like starting again! There are so many more components when running a restaurant, especially one in a high profile location that’s open 7 days a week. I don’t think I realised how hard it would be actually…
Be honest... how much fun was it creating a menu of cheese based dishes? Did you do it alone or did you get help? Any particular favourites?
It was a lot of fun. After spending three years making grilled cheese sandwiches, it was nice to be able to have a bit more creativity with our food! I worked with David our head chef to develop the menu. A lot of the dishes were inspired by ideas I’ve collated over the last 3 years with David helping to make them a bit more special. He’s a very talented chef and I feel very lucky to have him as part of our team!
Favourites from The Cheese Bar for me are the Young Buck Raclette and the Mozzarella Sticks!
The obvious final question... what is your favourite cheese?
I don’t pick favourites, I love far too many cheeses!