WOK STAR Food Truck
Owned an operated by Russell Evans, with help from Quinton Cutting-Johnson, Wok Star’s food truck can be found on the corner of 8th and Fir Tuesday through Friday from 11am-2pm. We recently had the chance to ask Russell a few questions.
Where are you from and how did you end up in Southern Oregon?
My father was in the Air Force, so I spent most of my youth and teenage years in Japan and Florida. From there I spent much of my 20’s in Southern California before coming up for a visit and finding myself in love with Oregon some 20 years ago. I never left!
How (and when) did Wok Star come to be?
Wok Star opened for the first time in the summer of 2013. Much like the movie Chef, I was over the politics of chef vs. owner, and vowed not to cook for anyone but myself. I found a truck and started building it while working in construction. Initially we only did festivals in the summers, but opened our doors to the public in October 2015.
Describe your menu…and does it change very often?
We do artisan Asian Street Foods. Every thing is hand made from scratch, to order. We became known for our Asian Tacos, but since, our Teriyaki Bentos, Veggie Stir-Fry and Kimchi Fried Rice have rounded out the menu. We have a special on the menu for our hardcore groupies that changes from week to week. We keep it seasonal.
What inspires you as a chef?
People! Though we don’t see it in our everyday lunch crowd- most of them grab and go, it’s fulfilling to watch people’s reactions when they take a bite. Something cooks in restaurants rarely get to experience.
What is your background in the food industry?
I started cooking in 1988 at Yamato restaurant and sushi bar in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. After 4 or 5 years I moved to Southern California where I worked at Benihana for a short stint before taking on jobs bartending and serving in various restaurants in Redondo and Manhattan Beaches. When I moved here, I worked at Oh’s Osaka for a while before going over to the Rogue Valley Country Club, where I learned French classic cooking techniques that made me more well rounded as a chef. Working under Adam at Bambu taught me to play with some Southeast Asian flavors.
What’s the best part of having a truly mobile business?
Being able to bring my kitchen to the party! Has definitely opened up some catering opportunities, and brings some culture to festivals and fairs where sausage dogs and curly fries reigned supreme for decades.
Where can your truck usually be found?
We post up on the corner of 8th and Fir Tuesday through Friday from 11-2. People can find us on Facebook to see where we are on the weekends- could be at a winery, brewery or festival near you! We also post when we won’t be at our lunch spot.
Tell us about some of your more interesting or unusual locations your truck has been to.
The Moon Barn in Provolt comes to mind. Situated in the middle of a pasture, it is home to the 420 Family Reunion, Applejam Music Festival as well as some really cool Halloween parties!
What differentiates you from others in your field?
Food Trucking is a culture in itself. Some of us are truly driven to provide an artisan experience, a few are imposters. We make everything from scratch, to order. Yes it may take a few extra minutes for your food, but it will be fresh!
Describe your experience working here in the Valley?
We love to tool around to the various wineries, breweries and venues to provide for the people. Nothing beats watching someone walking back across the field, taking a bite, then stopping dead in his tracks to turn around, give us a thumbs up and yelling “HELL YEAH!!” We have groupies of all sorts- the young, the old and everything in between.
What is your favorite thing about living here?
The seasons, the mountains, the rivers and especially the people.
What would you like to see changed in the Valley?
Food Truck Laws. I feel we should be able to move more freely throughout the valley. Some brick and mortar restaurants feel threatened by us even though we can’t provide the same level of service or shelter that they do. Funny, huh?