The Eagle Eye

Looking on the flipside

SMCHS mom proves entrepreneurship is no piece of cake.

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After a rocky climb up some serious life changes in 2010, Heidi Barrette — mother of junior Austin Barrette — made her love of cooking into a profession. However, she knew that working in a restaurant would not give her the independence that she searched for in a job as a cook. She didn’t have a clue of what she was going to do until the thought of starting a food truck struck her like a hit-and-run.

Exciting new beginnings - Heidi poses for a picture inside her cooking area as the start of her flip truck transformation takes off.

Jesse Brossa
Exciting new beginnings – Heidi poses for a picture inside her cooking area as the start of her flip truck transformation takes off.

“Everyone thought I was crazy and almost no one supported me because the idea of food trucks had been so new to Orange County,” Barrette said. “Everyone told me ‘You want to go from high end cooking to driving a truck with food for a living?’”

Despite the negative spectators, Heidi started her own food truck and dubbed it the “Flip Truck”; basing the name simply on the fact that it was humorous to Heidi that she was flipping burgers for a living.

The Flip Truck originated as an old laundry truck she found online. After going to G&B Catering Trucks, a company that specializes in customizing food trucks, Heidi redesigned the entire interior and ended up with a dream machine that would kick start her career.

Painting on the logo - Heidi Barrette transforms her flip up truck so customers can see its brand from miles away.

Heidi Barrette
Painting on the logo – Heidi Barrette transforms her flip up truck so customers can see its brand from miles away.

Four years later, and the Flip Truck has gained a multitude of positive attention from the media. Its sales have quadrupled and the truck has a rating of four stars along with some good reviews on Yelp.

Heidi’s son, Austin, is one of the few who encouraged his mom from the beginning and believes her food is the best around.

“I love seeing that my mom has been able to accomplish so much with her food truck,” SMCHS junior Austin Barrette said, “Her success means a lot to me because I know she worked hard to get to where she is today in her career.”

The menu is inspired by food of her homeland, Hawaii, and specializes in Pacific Rim and Southeast Asian cuisine. Heidi’s truck is filled with mouthwatering sliders of different tasting varieties. Whether you’re a vegetarian or an all-out meat lover, her cooking expertise will cater to any taste.

“My favorite part is cooking food I’m passionately connected to and watching my customer’s happy faces as they eat what I took time to make,” Barrette said. “Being able to interact and socialize with the people eating your food is something you really can’t do in a restaurant.”

Heidi’s favorite — and a customer-favorite, too — is the Ahi Slider Kalola. This sandwich was named after her mom who passed away a couple years ago. With a mix of some Hawaiian fruits, the slider is a reminder to her and her customers of where her passion for cooking began. And even if you’re not on the adventurous side, the Flip Truck can cater to any venue and you can see the variety of its menu online.

Making stomachs growl - One of her customers' menu favorites, the zeenee panini, is known because of Heidi's special twist on a plain dish of grilled cheese.

Heidi Barrette
Making stomachs growl – One of her customers’ menu favorites, the zeenee panini, is known because of Heidi’s special twist on a plain dish of grilled cheese.

Simmering salty fries, loading ice for beverages into coolers, and communicating with customers, Austin also takes time to support his mom and serve part-time in the truck.

Heidi gives likewise credit to her Uncle Billy for instantly backing up her idea.

“During the time when he was near death, after my first service in Irvine, I drove over to his house and thanked him,” Barrette said. “He told me that he saw my passion and said ‘Heidi you’re going to do amazing. Keep pressing on and doing what you love.’”

You can find Flip Truck anywhere from LA to San Diego catering parties, weddings, school fundraisers and private events.

Overcoming all odds of failure, Heidi pushed to continue her business while competitors rose and fell. She knew that with determination, she could reach success, make a living and cook loads of tasty sliders.

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