Thorsten Pannek is a Berliner – through and through. What does he love especially about his town? Its culinary diversity – because, in his opinion, it can offer a lot more than … well what? Curried sausages and doner kebabs. He would like to show everyone how varied it is – tourists, newcomers and the locals: with his own creations, like his “Eisbein” pork sandwich, or his Spreewald gherkin sandwich, he is reinterpreting traditional Berlin dishes in a new and modern way. The lush toppings on his bread rolls are presented – how could it be any other way – but on original Berlin “Schrippen” and “Schusterjungen” rolls. And now, so that people can enjoy these treats outside of the capital, this Berliner has made his career dream come true: in his self-converted food truck, he tours festivals and street food markets under the name of “Pannek seine Budike”, creating quite a stir – also because of his Mercedes-Benz 308 D.
The idea of his own food truck seemed far-fetched at first to Thorsten Pannek. The Berliner worked in gastronomy for many years, and loved creating his own things: as a barkeeper, he worked increasingly with local spirits and ingredients – mixing his own cocktails using local ingredients. He also loved cooking and the local dishes.
Gradually, more and more food markets found their way to Berlin. The meals you could buy were dishes people had brought from their own very different origins. “They simply brought their street cooking to Germany, adding their passion and national pride as an extra ingredient. They want to show just how tasty their home cooking is,” enthuses Thorsten. “That’s exactly what the guests loved!” Inspired by this enthusiasm and the thought of taking his own culture out into the world, he set about looking for a suitable vehicle.
The most important criteria on his search for a suitable food truck was clear to Thorsten Pannek: it needed to suit his concept. True to Berlin cuisine, he naturally opted for a German vehicle – or more explicitly a Mercedes-Benz 308 D from 1992. He discovered this jewel in Rostock: “The reason why I decided to get an old vehicle?”, he grins. “It’s a perfect symbiosis between old ‘Berlin cuisine’ and new interpretations – just like my food.” As a former carpenter, Thorsten Pannek did most of the work in the vehicle himself: “Fortunately the truck was in pretty good condition. The restoration work went very smoothly.” And when a few problems cropped up he contacted professional companies – because the realization of his dream “needed to be good”.
“I’ve not doubted for a moment,” says Thorsten Pannek, convinced. “There have been some setbacks; they’re inevitable when you’re self-employed. But I believe in my concept!” And he is not alone – he has a small team of friends and family he can rely on completely. And even his guests support him: “Enthusiasm for my food and appreciation of my truck are true motivation. That’s when you know that all the hard work was worth it!” raves the man from Berlin. Street food conveys an entirely new feeling – of that he is sure! “You don’t just eat because you’re hungry. You eat because you want to discover new things; go off on an adventure.”