This past summer I created The Toasting Company, which is a mobile food cart serving gourmet s'mores toasted to order with a handheld kitchen torch and made with homemade graham crackers, handcrafted marshmallows, and premium Lindt chocolate.

Photo courtesy of Amelia Cacchione

The company, which resulted from the unique combination of a few of my personal passions, was initially born out of my love for business. After searching for internships and other activities related to my future career interest that would involve authentic, hands-on learning experiences, I came up with nothing. I quickly realized that in order to generate this type of firsthand understanding, I would have to become an entrepreneur myself. 

Getting Started 

As a lifelong "foodie" and self-taught baker, it was no question that I would attempt to enter the food industry. Having recently frequented a few local food truck rallies, I had already taken notice of the fact that there was a distinct absence of dessert-based food trucks in my hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. With this thought in mind, I determined that my new business would offer a remedy to this problem. 

My passion for the outdoors was the next piece in the puzzle. Before leaving on one of our many family trips to the mountains last summer, my dad had the genius idea of making homemade marshmallows for our s’mores. Following my dad's "go big or go home" philosophy, we tried our hand at making graham crackers next.

What started out as a fun kitchen experiment was unknowingly a pivotal moment for my future business venture. When I realized how much better s’mores could be when you weren’t confined to store-bought ingredients and you added creative twists to the classic recipe, I began to think that this would make the perfect product to introduce into the mobile food industry. One long summer full of messy kitchens, sticky fingers, and endless marshmallows later, The Toasting Company was ready for its inaugural October event. 

The Goods

Since our launch last Fall, our customers have consistently been quite pleasantly surprised upon discovering that our marshmallows and graham crackers are 100 percent homemade. Our clients are amazed by the homemade elements and believe its what sets our company apart from others. Made from my secret recipe, which includes a blend of two organic whole wheat flours, and honey and brown sugar for sweeteners, the grahams embody the taste and texture of the traditional cracker while presenting a more fresh and satisfying snap as compared to what you can find at the grocery store.

On the other hand, while our marshmallows contain far fewer and simpler ingredients, they are the more difficult product to produce. Generating the perfect mallow requires a careful process of boiling mixtures to the exact temperatures and being certain to not over-whip your batter; set the mixer at too high a speed and you're left with dense rocks, but go too slow and you now have marshmallow fluff!

Besides our uniquely processed grahams and mallows, I have also worked on setting my business apart by developing an enticing array of flavors. While our customers always love the Classic S'more, crafted with a vanilla marshmallow and milk chocolate, our other staples include the Cookies and Cream, which incorporates real Oreo pieces into the marshmallow, and the Salted Caramel, which is topped with a drizzle of caramel sauce and sprinkling of sea salt. 

Some of our other innovative flavors, such as the Pumpkin Spice and Birthday Cake, set themselves apart by utilizing white chocolate. But what is my favorite s'more of all? To date, I would have to go with the Cinnamon Bun. Made with our homemade grahams, handcrafted cinnamon marshmallow, and white chocolate, it is a delectable and decadent treat that gives Cinnabon a real run for their money. 

The Mobile Food Community

In undertaking the endeavor to begin The Toasting Company, I immersed myself within a unique collection of individuals that I had not known previously existed: the mobile food community. The communal kitchen space which we share is an environment like no other; an incubator of ideas that synthesizes a network of insight and encouragement throughout those of diverse backgrounds.

Existing mutually among us aspiring business owners and culinary artists is an indefatigable drive to achieve our ambitions that does not spur an air of competition, but generates a sincere commitment to support others within our line of work. Thus, the constructive collaboration I have experienced through operating alongside others in my new line of work has been one of my favorite parts of starting a mobile food cart. Plus, swapping samples with others in the kitchen isn't so bad either. 

What I've Learned    

Like any start-up, bringing an altogether new experience —which for me is that of the "urban s'more"—to the market hasn't been a cakewalk. But while crunching numbers to stretch my budget can sometimes prove difficult, and staying up until 3 am on a school night to finish an order sure makes me tired, these few struggles could never overshadow the plethora of positive experiences I have gained from bringing The Toasting Company into fruition.

Combining my passions for business, baking, and the outdoors into one large, tasty undertaking has led me to witness the many benefits of creating opportunities for oneself in the absence of any available, as well as pursuing work in a field which you love.

But the satisfaction that has been derived from my creation of The Toasting Company does not just end with me. For most people, s’mores means happiness. They mean laughing around a bonfire with friends on a fall night, relaxing by the fireside on a weekend camping trip. And by serving up my gourmet goods, I have been able to help customers recall the warm, happy memories they have when enjoying a s’more and further enhance this feeling by presenting them with a handmade take on the classic treat. 

If you'd like to see more of The Toasting Company, be sure to give us a follow on Instagram or Facebook. We unfortunately do not offer mail order at this time, but given the abundance of requests for our gourmet s'mores kits, this is something we are currently working to make happen. However, if you are lucky enough to live in the Charlotte area you can taste some of our yummy treats by keeping a watch on our social media accounts to see where we'll be in the community next or by booking us to cater a private event. See you at the cart!