Megan Gleason, left, Michele Rollins and Matthew Anderkin chat while waiting for their food at the YOLKED Farm to Table Food Truck in New Gloucester. The food truck is alongside NU Brewery, 437 Lewiston Road. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

NEW GLOUCESTER — Self-described “chicken people” Jesse and Mindy Bouchard opened YOLKED Farm to Table Food Truck outside NU Brewery last summer with an egg in almost every dish.

The YOLKED Burger without the cheddar cheese. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

There is a poached egg on poutine. A fried egg on the signature burger. Egg whites on the chicken fingers and egg yolks in the homemade ice cream in whatever-inspires-him flavors like basil, sweet corn or blueberry pancake, many ingredients raised or grown within 20 miles.

“We’re prepared to serve up to 200 people a day,” Jesse said. “Some nights are unbelievable. Portland’s restaurant scene is amazing, it really is, and it’s making national news. When Portland people start arriving, ‘We heard about this place, we had to come up here,’ that to me is success.”

Bouchard started cooking young, when he was just 14, at a Scarborough bed and breakfast.

“My older sister was a housekeeper,” he said. “I would go and play on the beach and they would ask me for favors and I would come in and help out. They couldn’t keep me out of the kitchen, it was so interesting to me.”

After high school, work for large resort properties brought him to Key West in Florida and the Salt Lake City Olympics. That led to spending 14 years as executive chef at the Piper Shores retirement community in Scarborough overseeing a staff of 25, responsible for 400 to 500 meals a day.

Over the past two years, Bouchard pitched in as his best friends Russell Voss and Chris Ventimiglia worked to transform a former logging truck repair shop into NU Brewery at 437 Lewiston Road. He resisted their prodding to leave his executive chef job and dive into something new.

Jesse Bouchard helps a customer decide what to pick at YOLKED Farm to Table Food Truck in New Gloucester. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“I was happy at Piper Shores,” Bouchard said. Plus, he has an ice-carving business, Frozen in Time, on the side.

“When they were ready to open the doors, the questions were arising: There’s no food in this town. Are you going to have food? Every single person. That’s when it became real.

“My wife said to me, ‘I will support you no matter what you do,'” he said. “That’s when I started to maybe lose sleep about it. I would think about it in the middle of the night, what if we did do it?”

Bouchard studied industry stats, read up on trends and the concept came together quickly from there.

“Within a day I had a vision of what it would look like and what I would call it,” he said. “When you decide to do something, you have to decide, you have to take a leap of faith.”

From concept, to trailer, to licensing, to opening in July was just a few weeks.

Matthew Anderkin orders from the YOLKED Farm to Table Food Truck in New Gloucester. The food truck is located alongside NU Brewery. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

The couple live on a farm in Raymond with 14 chickens, three goats, three dogs, a cat, fruit trees, a garden and a pond. Their food truck trailer exterior is wrapped in a photo taken in their kitchen of a feature wall with 1800s barn board.

It’s parked on a cement slab with planters of rosemary, basil, flat leaf parsley, chives and cilantro, all used in recipes, growing out front.

They work with Lazy Dog Farm, Potatoes in NG and Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, Green Thumb Farm in Fryeburg, Fervor Farm in Hollis Center, Maine Family Farms in Portland, Backyard Farms in Madison, R. Belanger & Sons Farms in Lewiston and D’Ameri Acres in Gray.

“People know where it’s coming from, what’s in it, who grew it, what he’s doing to prepare it — that’s the beautiful part about the food,” said Mindy, who works there with her husband several days a week.

The menu changes seasonally, it’s all cooked to order, and Jesse Bouchard said it’s inspired by life experiences, like being served a burger with an egg on top.

“Think about a burger when you take a bite into it and it’s so dry you’re gasping for saliva — that is a bad experience,” he said. “When you bite into a burger and it’s so juicy and there’s this other element of a yolk that is popped just before it is given to you, it adds a different creamy aspect to taking that bite.”

Jesse Bouchard cuts his fries by hand from local potatoes. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

The house YOLKED burger, with cheddar cheese, pecan wood-smoked bacon, lettuce and onions pickled with beets, is the most popular item most days. A shaved prime rib sandwich with caramelized onion and melted cheese — his version of a steak and cheese — is often a close second.

The plan is to stay open year-round, though the trailer will soon move closer to the building for winter and add a small, heated enclosure between building and truck so customers don’t have to walk outside in the elements.

The YOLKED Farm to Table Food Truck at 437 Lewiston Road is open Wednesday and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. and Thursday to Saturday from noon to 9 p.m.

They are frequently invited to food truck events and festivals, but the goal, Mindy said, is to stay right there.

“It’s hard work, but it’s really fun,” she said. “The people we get to meet, the conversations we have. We have regulars.”

Added Jesse, “And now she’s seeing me in my element.”

The Broken BLT with locally sourced ingredients. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

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