TRURO – Colm Storr’s love of baking has turned into a thriving business for him and his family.
Waffles On My Mind opened May 15, and has been a hit with customers since.
“Colm loves to cook,” said Eric, Colm’s father.
“Because of his disability, he struggles with organization. Working in a commercial kitchen is a bit of a stretch unless he would have the support he needs.”
Colm was originally diagnosed with autism, however that has since changed because of the improvements the 24-year-old has made.
“Part of the issue with autism is qualitative impairments,” said Colm’s mother, Lori. “We’ve worked on it, and he’s improved in all respects.”
Creating the Waffles On My Mind food truck was a way for Colm to work on his own independence, while doing something he loves.
“I really enjoy it,” he said. “It’s stressful sometimes, but it’s fun. I love the cooking, and being the boss. It gives me something to do. It’s been great to get out of the house a couple times.”
With a passion for baking, Colm said he loves to bake cakes – traditional cakes – and used to sell them prior to the food truck opening.
Now, he’s made a name for himself in Truro and beyond.
“Waffles were something we thought we could pull off because there’s a lot of preparation beforehand,” said Eric. “It was doable, and everybody likes dessert. We were looking at things we could do that would be the right fit, that we could structure for him to be successful at.”
Colm does most of the prep work before the food truck opens. A lot of the recipes are family-based – his aunt, uncle and grandmother were “famous” for making waffles.
He and his family, which also includes his sister, Alex, taste test each recipe before it hits the street.
“Before this, we had waffles every once in a blue moon,” said Colm. “Now, it’s every weekend. I like to try everything, and everything is good.”
On a daily basis, Colm is coming up with new recipes, sometimes even in his sleep.
But just because he has new ideas doesn’t mean the menu is constantly changing.
“We want Colm to be involved in the product and his perfecting by doing the recipes is part of the process,” said Lori. “If there are too many (recipes), it wouldn’t have the depth in making him independent.”
Lori said the food truck gives a purpose and the social aspect has been huge.
“He’s built an identity for himself. He always identified himself as a baker, ever since he was a little boy, so this was a great avenue to take,” she said.
Loving the Beatles has served as inspiration for the graphics on the food truck, and often serves as inspiration for recipes or their names. He sometimes will think of the name first, however, and build a recipe to fit the name. For example, Colm can picture ‘Bach’ being along the lines of black forest, with cherries involved.
For almost a year prior to launching the business, the family began to seriously study. They tasted various food trucks in the province, and have gotten advice from those in the business, including Mari Ann Stiles, of Taco Stiles.
“She’s great,” said Colm, a smile on his face. “And I’m a big fan of their taco fries.”
Because of the support the family has received through other businesses and especially their clients, they’re hoping to do the same.
“We hope to get to a place where we can use local distributors,” said Lori.
“Yeah, like maple syrup, strawberries, and local blueberries,” Colm said. “We would like to do what they’ve done for us.”
While Waffles on My Mind doesn’t currently have a set schedule, they can be found at various events, and popping up here and there.
“We’re trying to get a regular weekday routine, but that’s been compromised by events, such as corporate events,” said Eric.
“The behind the scenes preparation is a big part of it, so to do more we’d have to compromise his involvement with that,” Lori added.
With all four family members working the truck during business hours, it can sometimes get a little cramped, but they all know who the boss is.
“When he says move, you move,” laughed Alex.
To find out where Waffles On My Mind will be open, weekly schedules are posted on their Facebook page.