Turnip Truck Hires Meg Giuffrida to Run Its Food Service Operations

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Meg Giuffrida, a popular figure in the Nashville food community at least since 2002, when she opened the late but much-loved Red Wagon Cafe in East Nashville, is bringing her creativity and kitchen skills to The Turnip Truck.

Giuffrida has joined The Turnip Truck as director of food services at both Turnip Truck stores — the original market in East Nashville's Five Points and the newer Turnip Truck Urban Fare in the Gulch.

The talented Giuffrida has certainly been busy since she closed Red Wagon in 2006. She launched a fun side business making charming A-line skirts from vintage fabrics, and most recently took on the meaningful but momentous task — think 800 meals a day — of running food services at the Martha O'Bryan Center. There she fed and taught hundreds of needy kids in the East Nashville community, and she also launched a new program at the center, the Second Rise Kitchen bakery and culinary job training program for adults.

In announcing the hire, Turnip Truck owner John Dyke praised Giuffrida's "dedication to creating simple, delicious natural food," and reminded folks that Giuffrida actually worked for Turnip Truck previously — she provided all the carryout options when the original Turnip Truck opened in East Nashville in 2001.

We hear that fans of Red Wagon's delectable brunch could be in for a treat: Wagon specialties like lemon-ricotta pancakes may show up in the popular hot bar in the Gulch store on weekends.

Dyke also said plans are in the works to expand the hot bar and deli in the Gulch and to add more hot and prepared foods in the East Nashville store.

Here on Bites we're big fans of Giuffrida, who modestly calls herself an "executive cook," since she learned all her prodigious cooking skills in the field, not culinary school. (Her husband, local rocker Paul Burch, is also a Scene favorite, in the music scene.)

We wish Meg tons of luck at the Truck. You can check out the full release from The Turnip Truck after the jump:

Meg Giuffrida joins The Turnip Truck as director of food services

Meg Giuffrida has been named director of food services at The Turnip Truck, announced owner John Dyke. Her role at The Turnip Truck will bring her talents to both locations, The Turnip Truck Natural Market in East Nashville’s Five Points, and The Turnip Truck Urban Fare in the Gulch.

Giuffrida, who describes her position as ‘executive cook,’ has more than 15 years’ experience in the Nashville food scene. The self-taught cook launched a series of East Nashville based catering and cooking experiences, including providing brunch at Bongo Java East and launching her own Red Wagon Catering. The success led her to open Red Wagon Café in 2002 in East Nashville’s Five Points.

“I watched Meg grow The Red Wagon catering business into to a full-fledged neighborhood cafe utilizing the best fresh, local ingredients with a loyal following,” said Dyke. “In between, she provided all the carry-out food for The Turnip Truck Natural Market in East Nashville when we opened in 2001. It was then that I fell in love with her dedication to creating simple, delicious natural food.”

Her culinary education began with Shubha’s, an Indian market and sometimes café, run by the mother of a good friend. It was there she learned the fundamentals of Indian cuisine, as well as an appreciation for simple, fresh, and delicious food prepared thoughtfully. Since then, her concept of global comfort food has inspired her, and will continue to appear in her role at The Turnip Truck.

Most recently, Giuffrida worked at the Martha O’Bryan Center, providing meals and food education to the Cayce Homes community in East Nashville. The Center serves 800 meals a day to children and seniors. While there, Meg started the Second Rise Kitchen bakery and culinary job training program for hard-to-employ adults.

“It was a period of tremendous growth for me and the Center,” said Giuffrida.

At The Turnip Truck, Giuffrida will be charged with expanding the popular hot food and deli sections at The Turnip Truck Urban Fare in the Gulch, as well as expanding hot and prepared foods at The Turnip Truck Natural Market in East Nashville’s Five Points.

“We have plans to expand the sandwich menu in the deli, offer a wider selection of dinners to go, and begin a casual dinner menu,” said Giuffrida. “It’s great to be working with the team at The Turnip Truck again. Everybody here in the kitchen contributes ideas; we have a wonderfully talented staff.”

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