‘What a jerk’ on wheels

By Stephen Weir

The ‘What a Jerk’ food truck working the streets of Toronto.
Pan musician Garrett Burgess ® stopped to buy dinner from his friend Al Foster.
In the truck (from left) are Deneka Alvarez and Cemarcia McKenzie.

What a Jerk! Yes, Al “Alos” Foster has been a big jerk  this month. And if his new food truck takes off, it will be Mr. Jerk, thank you.

Last week the Jamaican Canadian chef rolled out  his “What a Jerk” food truck. The Caribbean Camera missed his ” first night out” at the intersection of Rexdale Blvd. and Islington Avenue in West Toronto but did catch up with him  the following night.

He was selling his jerk chicken at a concert at the Winona Drive Senior Public School in midtown Toronto.  There was a large line-up of students and parents when the Caribbean Camera arrived. The large black truck was parked at the side of the road and had a large sign showing a list of low cost comfort foods.

“Menu is elastic, based on whatever event I am at,” said Foster.

“Tonight we did chicken fingers, chips along with our jerk chicken.  We were selling the things that students like.  We are going to be introducing jerk pork and other Jamaican dishes in the coming days and weeks.”

The food truck has a big clean kitchen and an easy-to-reach order window. It also has a logo  with a picture of a chef cooking jerk.  “ I used a stock image of a chef for the logo but   after I added a beard to the picture, I was shocked to see it looks like me! We are keeping it,” he chuckled.

Foster is an itinerant music teacher (pan) within the Toronto District School Board and is the music arranger for Pan Fantasy, Ontario’s leading steel band.  Pan Fantasy has won the Pan Alive steel  band competition six times in a row.

“ I have always been involved in hospitality and studied it along with music in my college days,” he noted.  “Like I say on Facebook, I’m STILL involved in pan (and music).So don’t ask me if I am quitting, I am not,” he laughed.

The “What A Jerk” truck is leased but Foster hopes that as his business grows, he will be able to buy it.  Just two weeks in, he still getting all his permits put together so that he can work all over the GTA.

“The food truck industry in Toronto, is amazingly regulated, but people in this city are into food trucks big time.  For me it is cheaper than starting up a restaurant.”

And  as Foster pointed out,  he  is one of the few road chefs serving Jamaican food.

As summer approaches, the “What A Jerk” truck is being booked into events around the GTA

Foster is going to be at the Scarborough Food Truck Festival this weekend and the Irie Festival in Mississauga next month. Most  evenings his truck will be parked near the Rexdale Blvd/Islington Avenue intersection.

Foster hopes to be taking part in the Toronto Caribbean Carnival and at mas’ camp events this summer. “What A Jerk” will post food truck location news on its Social Media sites.




The What a Jerk food truck working the streets of Toronto

Second gig for the What A Jerk truck.  Pan musician Garrett Burgess ® stopped to buy dinner from his friend Al Foster.  In the truck are Deneka Alvarez and Cemarcia McKenzie (from left to right)