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From Scratch in Crivitz is not ordinary food truck fare

Owner Ray Vania has been cooking since age 13

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May 14, 2024

CRIVITZ – Ray Vania, owner of From Scratch, said he has been perfecting his trade since he was a teenager.

“I started cooking when I was 13 at (the former) Wally’s Spot Supper Club in Green Bay,” he said.

Vania said he has held 37 jobs in his lifetime at 27 different restaurant locations, which he admits sounds crazy, but was by design.

“I’ve cooked just about everything imaginable and (had many roles) from kitchen steward to executive chef,” he said. “I’ve opened restaurants and also worked at Bleu and Chives in Green Bay. I was the assistant to the executive chef for the (Green Bay) Packers for a few years and was brought in as the operation manager for the Brown County Arena.”

Vania said he cooked for the Oneida Nation as well as nursing homes.

“I’ve never had a cooking job longer than three years,” he said.

And again, Vania said that was by choice – learning just about everything he could from all types of restaurants, gearing him up to one day branch out on his own.

“My culinary voyage has been nothing short of extraordinary, honing my skills across every role imaginable within a kitchen,” he said. “These opportunities and experiences were gladly accepted as an expansion of my repertoire and culinary expertise.”

He said he opened From Scratch – a roadside food truck (N9751 Parkway Road in Crivitz) – two years ago.

“I built the food trailer myself and all three of my boys work with me,” he said.

Vania said that the From Scratch structure was originally a car hauler, which he transformed into the full kitchen.

Ray Vania, owner of From Scratch, said he’s been cooking since he was a teenager. Submitted Photo

“The kitchen is 30 feet by seven feet and measures 220 square feet,” he said.

From Scratch, Vania said, also has a licensed prep kitchen located on his three-acre property in Crivitz.

“That’s what you need when you have a food trailer, you have to have a home base,” he said.

Vania said the kitchen has a nine-foot hood with a three-foot griddle, four burners, two ovens and two fryers.

It also has a double-door cooler and a three-bin sink.

“It’s the whole nine yards,” he said. “I’ve worked in nicer restaurants with smaller kitchens. This is a full-functioning kitchen that I would put up against any kitchen, in any restaurant.”

Vania said the philosophy of From Scratch resonates with his core beliefs about food.

“For food to be great, it needs to be fresh and natural, nothing frozen, nothing processed,” he said. “Everything prepared in my kitchen is an ode to authenticity. I’m sure that the selection of some of the menu items has to do with what I want to eat, too.”

Vania said he’s often inspired by some of the recipes he sees on television shows like, “Somebody Feed Phil” and “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

Not your ordinary food truck
Vania said From Scratch isn’t your run-of-the-mill food truck or roadside sandwich establishment.

The menu at From Scratch, he said, changes every two weeks and focuses on seasonal specialties, like caprese salad.

“It’s a family effort as the shrimp rangoons are made by my sister, Teresa Thompson,” he said. “Other menu items have included black shrimp with three-cheese mushroom risotto and Cubans.”

Vania said one of the customers’ current favorites is the Birria taco, which was inspired by his son’s girlfriend.

“It includes a hearty portion of chicken, beef or pork, Chihuahua, sour cream, avocado, pico de gallo and Danny’s Slaw,” he said. “The slaw is made from apples, not cabbage, and is seasoned with turmeric.”

Other menu items, Vania said, include roast beef on Texas sourdough with horseradish cream cheese spread and provolone cheese and pickled onions; a soup called Sir Lancelot Zuppa Tuscana and homemade waffle cups and cones for ice cream, as well as homemade cookies and brownies.

Vania said From Scratch also has options for vegetarian customers.

“If you’re a vegetarian, I can make you anything you want as long as I have the ingredients,” he said.

Vania said menu items range in price from $6 to $10 for a hearty serving.

Vania said that the local landmarks, like the Twin Bridge Park and the Tommy Thompson State Park, and From Scratch’s proximity to bars and restaurants lends itself to being easily found.

From Scratch is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and 8 a.m. to noon on Sunday.

For more, check out From Scratch on Facebook.

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