“We make literally everything from scratch,” says Lex Boldireff of S’wich food, a seasonal food truck with a permanent location in MacEwan University’s Robbins building.
The gourmet sandwich spot is every sandwich-lover’s dream, with freshly baked bread, handmade cheeses and condiments, and meat butchered on-site. Still, the first season at MacEwan was a little rough.
“People, particularly Canadians, are creatures of habit, and when you get into a normal flow of going somewhere for lunch, you kind of put your blinders on and do the same thing every day,” says Boldireff. “People didn’t even know we were here.”
That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore, however, as it appears that S’wich food is gradually becoming one of the most popular choices on campus for a quality meal — and Boldireff doesn’t take the word “quality” lightly.
Since its beginning, S’wich has been operating from a mostly local scale, and while the trend is quickly becoming a popular marketing technique for businesses around the world, Boldireff truly believes in the quality of the products that can be created from locally-sourced ingredients.
“I think sustainability is more important than the number of kilometres and the number of provincial lines that [a product] crosses,” he says, acknowledging that there are some limitations to sourcing local ingredients.
Cost is one thing, but it’s the practices used on the farms from which S’wich sources its ingredients that really matter to Boldireff.
“I’d rather use someone out of Saskatchewan following the practices that I believe in than use someone here, locally, just because they’re a little bit closer,” he says, referring to the ethics that local vendors practice. “Fortunately, I do have incredible farmers just outside of Edmonton who I use who do have the same sort of opinion on how they raise their animals.”
Making meals from scratch wasn’t the original plan for Boldireff, however. As both an accounting and finance grad from NAIT, Boldireff didn’t pursue working in the food industry full-time until an entry in a Food Network recipe contest won him a trip to Italy.
Taking the win as a sign, Boldireff left his financial planning practice to train in culinary arts and butchery at NAIT. Now, after just three seasons, S’wich is one of Edmonton’s most popular food trucks.
“It’s important to know where your food comes from,” says Boldireff.
Photo by Casey Pollon.