Brian Webb of Hey Joe! Filipino Street Food on Why He Loves Filipino Food and His Bad-Ass Personal Mantra
Lauren Saria Brian Webb of Hey Joe!
Hey Joe! Filipino Street Food
This is part one of our interview with Brian Webb of Hey Joe! Filipino Street Food. The food truck hit the streets right as the food truck craze took off in Phoenix and has been bringing the cuisine of the southeast Asian island nation to Valley diners ever since. Today, Webb talks about why an Irish chef chose Filipino cuisine and how he ended up moving from white tablecloths to the stifling heat of a tiny, mobile kitchen. Don't forget to come back Tuesday when he talks about the "highly regional cuisine" he cooks and Filipino eats as the next big thing.
Filipino food isn't exactly known as a sexy cuisine. Brian Webb, owner and chef of Hey Joe! Filipino Street Food knows that all too well, and he's not very happy about it.
"I just think that's bullshit," he says matter-of-factly.
For an Irish guy, he's passionate about this kind of food. And through his food truck he tries to open eyes to the universal appeal of the island nation's cuisine. In fact, the idea for a truck only came after he realized he wanted to find a way to bring Filipino food to the masses.
"The food truck has always been more of a vessel," Webb says. "I love having the truck, but it has its limitations."
Prior to jumping into the mobile food business, Webb worked in fine dining around the Valley. And before that, he worked for an electronics company. When he realized the thousands of dollars in commission were doing nothing to excite his passions, he began to consider a career change. He figured he'd always liked barbecuing and thought maybe he'd open up a deli. So he went to culinary school.
He'll tell you now how "green" he was when he started at Scottsdale Culinary Institute. The very first day introduced him to foie gras and exotic mushrooms. Just like that, he had a whole new appreciation for food.
Upon graduating, he landed a job doing the type of fine dining you seldom see these days at the Latitude 30 restaurant at the former Pointe South Mountain Resort (now the Arizona Grand). He worked for a while as a saucier and then on the grill, learning and experimenting in the resort environment where upscale cuisine, as a necessary amenity, can truly be explored.
"It was good in the beginning, but that type of food is really dead now," he says referring to the elaborate upscale dining and French-style brigade kitchen structure.
So he left that gig and went on to help open Pure Sushi in North Scottsdale, and then worked for a while at LGO Hospitality's now-defunct Radio Milano. It was while working at Radio Milano that a chain of fortuitous events (at least, they seem fortuitous now) set him on the road to food truck ownership.