Victor and Sybil Roquin moved to Los Angeles in 2016 to follow the modern American dream — also known as quitting your day job to open a food truck. Sybil, a former business consultant from Barcelona, Spain, and her husband, Victor, a Frenchman who worked on sustainable development issues for the food industry, had been living in Paris for more than a decade when they decided to make a career switch based on a shared love of Catalan food. They spent the next couple of months in Barcelona, talking to local chefs, eating, drinking wine and working on their recipes before packing up and moving to L.A. to launch the Tumaca food truck late last year.
“When we decided to leave everything behind and jump into the unknown, our family and friends thought we were totally nuts — and we thought that they may be right,” said Victor. “One year later, only one thing is sure. Starting this crazy adventure was the best decision in our life.”
The truck is named after pa amb tumaca, also known as pan con tomate. The simple dish originated in the Catalonia region of Spain and consists of a slice of bread — sometimes toasted or grilled, sometimes not — that has been rubbed with a ripe tomato so that the juices seep into the top layer of the bread, softening it just so and adding a fresh tomato flavor.
Pa amb tumaca is typically finished with a drizzle of olive oil, some salt and maybe some ham. This combination serves as the core of the flavor profile for most everything on the truck.
“There are, of course, a few Spanish restaurants [in L.A.], but this is nothing compared to other cuisine influences from Asia, Mexico or even Europe,” said Victor. “There is still a lot to be done to promote and give a more modern twist to this sometimes overlooked but flavorful and diverse cuisine.”