Getting shots on a filming trip is the most obvious priority, but there are many lesser-discussed factors that contribute to how enjoyable a trip is overall. Meals are one of them: a great gastronomic experience can bring a ton of color, culture and community time to a trip. On the flip side, if the decision around every meal is a struggle, the usual slog of a day in the elements can feel endless, and raise tensions in a situation already prone to be combustible.
Having a “Yelp God,” as Kyle Martin once dubbed Mark Wilson, in the van is super clutch, someone willing to take the time to line up a good meal, at a restaurant or back “home.” Mark’s long had a passion for food, expressed in his fare selection while on the road or in home kitchen experimentation. This year he’s taken that passion to the next level with his brand new pop-up kolache business, Stuffed. Learn a bit about his new venture, and what the hell a kolache is, in our chat below. - mg
What inspired you to start a food business?
I guess it is a mix of things. I have always loved eating good food whether it is at a restaurant or making it at home, and I have always wanted to work for myself. Usually in the off-season I work a random job for seven months or so, but leave when winter arrives. This year I figured I would run with an idea I’ve had and see where it goes.
Do you have a culinary background of any sort?
I’ve always had an interest in food and cooking different meals here and there at home, but I’m self-taught. Most of my jobs in the service industry have been delivery related, so any cooking experience has come from me experimenting in the kitchen at home.
You mentioned being the person always seeking out decent food on snowboard trips. Explain what it's like finding food on filming trips.
Yeah, so I think besides getting a clip the most enjoyable thing on a trip has to be sitting down with everyone after a long day in the cold, and eating a good meal. Some people don’t care at all where they go, but to me, it's a necessary component of a good trip.
Finding food on filming trips is entirely location dependent. You might randomly be filming rails in Seattle, WA and have access to any type of cuisine you could ever want. Other times you are in rural Russia cooking for seven people on a propane camping stove in your AirBnb. Either way those are things that I remember.
Do you have any partners in this venture?
For now it's just me. If it starts to grow at all I’m sure I will need help from someone with more experience.
This past winter Mo Jennings (K2 TM) was picking me up to film in Salt Lake and asked me if I had eaten breakfast yet. I hadn’t, so he grabbed us some food for our drive. When he handed me a brown paper bag I was pretty confused as to why he brought me a dinner roll at 8:00 a.m. I was pleasantly surprised when I bit into it to find bacon, egg, cheese, and jalapeño inside the bread. It was so good, and my first time ever trying a kolache. Immediately I thought about how this was something that Portland was missing, and I started making them at home. I got a lot of positive feedback when I would make them for friends, so I decided to try and sell them on a small level, and here we are. I really like the idea of quality grab-and-go food, and the fact that most of the work is done in advance so you can just hand it to the customer.
You advertise as Texas-Czech Kolaches? Can you break that down for us? There seems to be a lot of misconceptions about what is and what is not a kolache? What makes them Texas-Czech?
I was just trying to avoid confusion, but if you aren’t familiar with kolaches it might sound strange so here is a little history. Traditionally flavored with fruit, kolaches began in Central Europe as a festive dessert before moving to South London as a breakfast bite. When Czech immigrants came to Texas in the mid-19th century, a new Texas-Czech hybrid version emerged using local ingredients like smoked brisket, jalapeño, chorizo, and eggs.
I am focused on savory ones for the time being while it's just me, but would like to add some traditional fruit kolaches in the future. Maybe I should change that bio in the meantime, hahah.
Where does the business exist at the moment? Do you have a physical store?
Currently I am just popping up at Muddworks Roastery in northeast Portland on random Saturdays that we decide on. It has worked out great so far because he has the storefront with good coffee, but a limited food menu. Most of the customers I bring in wanting kolaches will also buy a cup or bag of coffee, so it's a win win. If you follow @stuffed.pdx you can see when the pop-ups are happening.
This format is ideal for the time being because if I want to take off this winter to film, it's as easy as an Instagram post letting people know we are on hiatus.
What kolaches are you currently offering? Do you have a regular menu?
I’ve experimented with a bunch of different flavors at home and have been rotating them at each event. I try to do two meat flavors, a veggie or vegan, and gravy. Can’t forget the gravy.
Any collabs or pro model kolaches in the pipeline?!
Nothing yet! This is so new for me I am just kind of taking it one step at a time and seeing what happens. Maybe it will turn into a full-time job for me, or maybe it will dissolve next week! Haha