Find your next craving
Mar 27, 2018 05:11PM
● By Steven Hoffman
When was the last time you munched on some grilled octopus at a local food truck? Or fried frog legs toasted in truffles with maple syrup? Or risotto crab balls with kimchi aioli? That’s the kind of range offered by Willie C. Enchill’s Delicious Craving food truck.
Growing up in Ghana, Enchill developed a fascination with food preparation at an early age. “I was 6 or 7 years old at a boarding school, and I cut class a lot and went to watch the woman preparing food for the dormitory,” Enchill recalled. “She put me to work, cutting up spinach and other jobs.”
The two struck a deal, and in return for Enchill going back to class, she let him do some cooking.
“I was excited. On the weekends, she showed me how to make bread and more,” Enchill said. He was hooked, and he vowed to go to school and really learn how to do it right. He ended up graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in London. “And then it took off … It became a big deal and this is what I’ve done all my life,” he said.
As Enchill’s career gained momentum in London, he started working at the Magdala Tavern in Hampstead. That’s where he started rubbing elbows with some famous celebrities.
“I cooked for Christian Slater a couple times,” he said, also mentioning Jude Law and the late Roger Moore. “It was a very posh area … George Michael’s house was like 15 minutes away.” According to Enchill, Law was a regular at the Magdala, and he loved the shank of lamb steak. “It was curried and he had couscous and chick peas. That’s all he ate. Christian Slater was also there on location for a movie.”
Enchill’s food philosophy follows some cues from the current media love affair with the culinary arts. “It’s not what other food trucks will have,” he said. “I’m always thinking about what I’m going to do next. Because right now, everybody knows food. People are watching TV, looking at recipes. It’s not like before, when you just get up and go and buy some food. People are actually creating [these dishes] at home. So you have to come up with a concept that is like, 'It’s Friday. Where’s Willie?' I have very loyal customers and it’s great.”
Curiosity has played a major role in Enchill’s growing appreciation for food preparation. “I’ve always had a passion for cooking. I’ve always been inquisitive about how to put things together to make bold, vibrant flavors,” he said. “So I do different things out of the norm. I always look for the rarest thing.” Enchil, 45, is particularly proud of his alligator dishes. “We’ve cooked a whole gator. We are known for our gator. We inject it with bourbon and smoke it,” he said. “The taste is between catfish and lobster, like a fatty tuna.”
With all the exotic choices, the Delicious Craving menu is generally based on lamb kabobs. And chicken and risotto crab balls. “When I do frog legs, I do about 40 pounds,” Enchill said. “We fried them and then soaked them in truffles and maple syrup at Fair Hill, and everybody loved them.”
One of the stops for Delicious Craving is Blue Earl Brewing, a craft brewery that plays classic blues on the sound system at 210 Artisan Drive in Smyrna. “Friday and Saturday nights are a big deal there, and on Wednesday night, they have a band, and that means a big crowd,” he said. “Everything is made to order. It’s authentic, nice and fresh. It hasn’t lost any flavor. It’s not overcooked. I import a lot of spices from India. That’s why my food tastes different. You’re not going to get it anywhere else. It’s actually a restaurant without a sitting place. I can do the same thing, just without seats. And now, street food is the way to go.”
The sauce flavor for one of the nine types of wings is on the Blue Earl Brewery beverage list. “It’s Buster Brown,” Enchill said. “It’s an American brown ale they have here. That’s the base for the sauce, along with habaneros peppers and curry leaves. We also have tequila and Old Bay parmesan.”
The Delicious Craving food truck makes its way around Delaware and Maryland to share the tasty treats with a variety of hungry patrons. “Every week, I have a different place where I go on certain days,” Enchill said. “During the week, I normally hit the offices up north and, on the weekends, I do my events, depending on the festivals -- like Elkton, Queenstown and Chesapeake City.” On April 28, Enchill will have one of 15 food trucks at Epworth UME Church in Rehoboth. “I’ll be smoking a whole gator there. I’m going to put it on a spit and let it turn around for people to see. It’s not something you’re going to see every day,” he said. “It’s a delicacy.”
Enchill’s reputation for something out of the ordinary has led to a lot of travel miles for the six-person crew. A recent stop in King of Prussia featured 40 food trucks. Despite all that competition, Enchill was confident that his history of satisfying the crowd would help him stand out. And Facebook helps with that, too.
“Now, social media is a big thing. People check their phones to check the ratings and see what the latest word is, and they find out what I sell is different,” Enchill said. “Then as soon as they start walking around, they ask, ‘Where did you get that?’ Then they know my food is not the usual burgers, chicken tenders and tacos. When I go in there, I have gyros, I have the machines in my truck. Lamb and chicken … the smell will drive you crazy. You want it!”
One of the mainstays on the Delicious Craving menu has been a big hit in the UK for quite a while. “In England, there are kabob shops everywhere you turn your head,” Enchill said. Portability is the key. When happy customers stroll around while munching on tasty kabobs, they are walking advertisements.
“When I’m cooking, it takes my troubles away,” Enchill said. “I don’t think about anything else. It’s like a drug thing. Also, to be a good cook, you have to like it. I like simple, flavorful foods. If it tastes good, the sky’s the limit.”
Currently, Enchill is presenting something new, even for him. “This season, I am introducing something I’ve never done before -- the guinea fowl. It’s like chicken but smaller. Very tasty.” The guinea fowl is similar to the Cornish game hen.
When questioned about his personal food preferences, Enchill replied, “Cereal. It’s easy to do and it has no smell.”
He derives his satisfaction from pleasing someone else with his efforts. “Oh, my goodness. I love to cook for other people,” he said. “Sometimes when people come up to the truck, and they don’t know what to get, they ask what is the best thing on the menu, I won’t lie to them – Everything is good on the menu. Then I’ll give them samples of things to taste and they’re blown away.” One of Enchill’s go-to suggestions is the Tandoori Chicken with Rice, a popular Indian dish. Another favorite is Chicken Tikka Masala Kabobs with Chutney.
And, of course, there are the kabobs. “I’m always going to have kabobs,” Enchill said. “That’s the focus of the truck – lamb, chicken, pork belly. And then I’ll always have the wings. It’s all about the sauce. It’s soaked in the brine before it’s fried, so the skin is crispy. When you bite it, the juices ooze out. That’s the thrill of it.”
After all this great food, if there’s still room for dessert, bring on the baklava. This year, Enchill is considering adding rum raisin bread pudding and a traditional cheesecake. However, when all is said and done, dessert is really secondary.
In summarizing his mission, Enchill said, “I want to create something different that will reflect the term, Delicious Craving. You crave it and you come to me. You’re not going to get it anywhere else. People look at the menu and they lick their lips.”
Enchill has a penchant for pairing up flavors, and with this in mind, his latest blend might sound a little unconventional: “I’m thinking about a crab cheesecake. That is what gets my interest. How to put things together for them to just click.”
If that sounds like an unlikely marriage, you might want to reconsider, because Enchill has a way of making it work. In fact, it just might be your next Delicious Craving.
For more information: Delicious Craving (473 Pier Head Blvd., Suite 1, Smyrna), 302-222-0723, www.deliciouscraving.com, facebook.com/deliciouscraving.