Toni Romero has been doing business in Indio since 1985, driving a food truck before they became trendy and when they were known as “catering trucks.” She would provide wholesale supplies to other caterers. Over the years she has learned a lot about mobile food service, and her expertise has led her to secure the first Category 5 Commissary in the Coachella Valley through the County of Riverside Department of Environmental Health– making it more attractive than ever for popular food trucks to come to the desert.
What is a Category 5 Commissary?
Mobile food facilities – a.k.a. “food trucks” – obtain a health permit based on what they plan to serve. Those serving prepackaged food items have less requirements than those which do full food preparation in their mobile facility. A Category 5 Commissary provides a place to work out of for those street vendors that create menu items with more extensive preparation. These type of mobile food facilities must report to the commissary every day for cleaning, maintenance and storage, according to their permit approval with the County.
“A Category 5 is the most complex level of commissary because you have to provide dump stations for grease and food waste as well as kitchen prep items,” explained Romero. “Food trucks are essentially RVs that are like mobile restaurants. They need a water connection system, and have to be plugged in at night for electricity to keep food products refrigerated.”
As an experienced caterer, Romero understands what’s involved in ensuring food is safe for the public. That deep level of knowledge – along with a lot of tenacity – helped her secure a Category 5 Commissary. “The laws change and there are new regulations developed all the time – so it’s a lot to stay on top of,” said Romeo. “It wasn’t an easy ride, but I guess I’m stubborn. I worked at different commissaries in Escondido and San Bernardino, and that really helped my learning process.”
Bring On the Food Trucks
Romero says she thinks we will start to see more food trucks coming to the Coachella Valley now that there is a Category 5 Commissary available to them. In the past, they’ve been limited to special events.
Congratulations to Toni Romero of Sacher Enterprises in Indio for her approval of the only Category 5 Commissary in the region! For more information, Toni can be reached at (760) 272-9361.