One of our fav food trucks has gone off road moving into The Corner at Charlestown, permanently!
If you're one of the many who love getting along to the local markets, and look forward to seeing them come back real soon, you would have more than likely come across Schillykickk. Also known as Big Red, to those who know her best, for more than three years the truck has been pumping out Thai Fusion feasts with a twist and has become a favourite on the market scene.
Thanks to all your Thai fusion market love Schillykickk owners, Lou and Rocki have jumped out of the food truck, temporarily anyway, launching their restaurant space at The Corner called Schilly Thai Fusion. We caught up with Lou to get all the details.
Congrats on the new space Lou. Schillykickk was started by yourself and your husband Rocki back in March 2017 as a pop up at the local markets, what initially prompted the idea to set up a Thai food stall?
We had just moved back to Newcastle from living in Melbourne and the food truck craze was only really just hitting here. We saw a gap in the market for something unique with flavour combinations people hadn’t tried before. With Rocki being a qualified chef and growing up around street food in Bangkok it was just a natural progression to do something linked with thai food.
The business has come such a long way, what does the team look like today?
It’s always been very much a husband and wife team from the beginning till now with a small team alongside us. But now with a permanent, larger kitchen and menu we are looking at expanding once things get back to normal.
For newbies to Schilly's your menu is described as being Thai fusion with a modern twist, can you describe what some of those modern twists are?
Rocki has always really enjoyed cooking and creating modern western food with Thai/Asian ingredients. The idea was to create a food combination people hadn’t tried before such as our Thai Tacos and Fried Chicken Roti wraps.
Have you always worked in the food or hospitality scene, or has food just been a passion?
Rocki grew up in Bangkok in his family's restaurant so food is not only a passion but a way of life for him. We both worked together in different kitchen settings in parts of Australia but Rocki had formal training in Melbourne.
In 2018 you moved into the Big Red food truck, did you always have your eyes set on opening a restaurant space?
We love the food truck, it’s great to have the flexibility to move around and share your food with different audiences. However, our own bricks and mortar was always our goal from the start. So when the opportunity came up at The Corner we jumped on it. We changed the name slightly to give a big sister side to the company with a more extensive menu but still have that connection with the food truck.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced moving from a market-style business to a restaurant operation?
A global pandemic ha ha .. Yes it's been very untimely but it's also given us an opportunity to still keep trading even if it is just takeaway and delivery. As all our food truck events have been canceled or postponed until further notice.
It’s a beautiful space, has this been all your own work or have you worked with someone to pull it together?
We always had the concept of a street food style vibe and setting. We gathered our ideas and examples and worked closely with our shop fitter and designer Adrian from After Dark Design. He was a dream to work with, he understood what we were after and ran with it.
For those who have frequented Schillykickk many times over the years can they expect all their favourite dishes on the menu at Schilly Thai Fusion here at The Corner in Charlestown?
We had a great opportunity to trial different things through the food truck before opening the shop so yes we will still have our food truck favourites plus more.
Are there any new surprises?
The pork belly skewers are a new addition as well as a very traditional style Somtum Salad. Also some really exciting monthly specials are in the works.
The timing of your opening hasn’t been ideal, the last few weeks must have been pretty tough on you both, how has the launch been so far?
We had a great response, seeing many new faces return in the first week. Even with having to adapt and change our complete business structure to just takeaway and delivery for the time being. We are really humbled by the continued support.
You’re continuing to operate in a Takeaway capacity, has this changed the menu in any way?
Unfortunately not all our food travels well with delivery so we have had to limit our menu for the last couple of weeks. However, we will be running our full menu for pick up only from this weekend.
When the markets return, do you plan on bringing out Big Red again?
Definitely!! We love our local community markets such as Homegrown and Olive Tree but we also have some big events in the pipeline.