GUYS! There is still time to check out the amazing vendors from #FrontStreetFoods by Union Station. Get out there before it’s too late! In this installment of our Meet The Makers series, we talked to Mark Oliver from HotBunzz Street Cuizine.
Where did your company idea originate?
For me, loving food is intertwined with a love for travel. And discovering new food ideas is a passion. My first trip to Asia planted the seed for HotBunzz, when I tried Chinese bao and Japanese pan. These buns had a little flavour inside to make them interesting and delicious, and I was taken by them. On the flight back I wrote a few notes about what I would do if I was to “play” with this idea. Fast forward to this summer and the HotBunzz concept that we make and serve today are a million miles from what I had initially envisioned … it’s been an amazing journey.
What do you love most about your business?
I was [a business owner] in the food business with a Pizza Pizza franchise fresh out of school. Then I went into finance for a while, but something kept calling me back. I have never started a business from scratch until now. There’s so much to learn every day, it’s so exciting.
What’s the easiest way to describe your food?
HotBunzz are oven-baked brioche-style buns with internationally inspired flavours baked right inside. HotBunzz are our vision of hand-held street food snacks born right here in Toronto.
Please share/list some menu highlights that you will be serving this summer at Front Street Foods.
We have lots of exciting flavours and rotate our menu from time to time to give you a taste of some of the crazy ideas we’ve come up with! A particularly exciting choice is The Spiced Sailor, which is our collaboration with Rock Lobster Food Co., using their East Coast lobster mixed with pears poached in Sailor Jerry rum baked inside, topped with MORE lobster in brown butter. We love collaborating and hope to with some of our new friends at Front Street Foods too! Keep your eyes on our menu board!
Can you share with us one of your kitchen rules?
The simple rule in our kitchen: Taste everything! Taste the ingredients going in and the finished result that comes out.
Favourite summertime drink?
Favourite drink is always a cold brew with a side of HotBunzz.
What is the craziest/most interesting trek/adventure you’ve ever taken for either a) a great meal or b) a particular ingredient?
I had the chance to tour the island of Taiwan in February this year for the first time, and the awesomeness of their street food has been inspiring. Taiwanese cooking with its Japanese and Asian influences is by far one of the greatest discoveries food-wise for some time.
Funniest customer story?
Last year we were at Beerlicious for the first time. Late on Friday night the crowd is feeling pretty “good” and also, HUNGRY! I’ll never forget the guy who came up and saw our Bunzz on the racks, pointed and said, “Give me four potatoes.” Our Bunzz girl Maya cheerfully served him his four “potatoes” and he left a happy camper!
Front Street Foods is still open from Monday to Friday from 7am-9pm, Saturday 11am-9pm and Sunday 11am – 6:30pm. Be sure to stop by HotBunzz Street Cuisine for a Spiced Sailor!