If you’re in a relationship, working together can be difficult. If that work is cooking, a notoriously difficult job in its own right, it can be even harder. Now, add four wheels, a grueling travel schedule, consecutive 100 hour work weeks, the desire to create a philosophy centered around great food and how it’s served, and you see the challenge of being Chef Rebecca VanderKloot and Luke Petillon. For the last five years, Rebecca, and Luke have been bringing Chicago based Puffs of Doom to events and festivals around the country. They have recently launched Doom Street Eats, a global street food concept, and are beyond excited to be bringing it to The Woodlands this June.
Doom Street is an offshoot of Puffs of Doom (say that last part an octave lower, and let it reverberate for effect), one of the only cream puff based businesses in the nation. Puffs of Doom took off when Rebecca and Luke met and they realized they both had backgrounds in the food and music industries, as well as social work, and wanted to use their shared background to do something even more rewarding. So, taking Rebecca’s fifteen years of kitchen and baking knowledge, they started selling their artisan cream puffs, first at local farmers’ markets then street festivals, and finally Lollapalooza. Those initial successes selling sweet and savory cream puffs turned into a love affair and a lifestyle.
“We wanted to have fun with the name. So many people at the time were doing fancy food, and it was all so serious. We wanted to do real scratch-made, “fancyesque” food, but be able to keep it lighthearted and fun, and still have gravitas.”
Rebecca, to date, has turned out over 400(!) original flavors of cream puffs. There are made from scratch iterations in all types, including: sweet, savory, vegan and gluten free. The desire, however to stretch their wings, to do more, led to Doom Street Eats, a wider offering of innovative global street foods they’re bringing to Firefly for the first time. They say it is their fancy ass street food version of Puffs of Doom.
Doom Street offerings can fuse cuisines together in ways that are new and yet still familiar. There are the traditional Mexican influenced tacos, but those are also complemented by more American offerings like buffalo chicken w/blue cheese slaw taco, or a Cuban pulled pork w/pineapple mango salsa taco. Rebecca and Luke also specialize in offering delicious food for people with special dietary needs. They will be bringing their vegan bourbon bbq pulled “pork” sliders to Firefly. Their menu is rounded out by dishes like: deep fried bacon ranch mac and cheese balls and chipotle beer cheese nachos. And there are their famous cream puffs of course. Salted caramel chocolate, cookies ‘n cream ice cream, and blueberry lemon (vegan) cream puffs will be offered as well.
But, beyond the food, Doom Street will come to Firefly with its extended family of workers, the Doom Crew. The Doom Crew is (Rebecca and Luke’s) extended family of dedicated workers who have gone through seasons of hard work while having the time of their lives.
“We’ve really gone through a lot together,” Luke recalls. “Crazy 24 hour sand storms at Coachella, torrential rains and evacuations at Lollapalooza, and even a few hour period in New Orleans, where we got an amazing food critic review, immediately followed by being hammered with the remnants of a hurricane while Ozzy Osborne belted out songs in the background for customers waiting patiently in sideways-blowing rain.”
It’s difficult work, but working daily with food is a calling few not in the industry can understand. Rebecca and Luke can regularly work up to twenty hour days, five days a week, and can count on one hand the number of actual full song performances they’ve seen despite being veterans of numerous festivals. Even then the Doom Crew looks out for one another.
“I got to see a bit of Paul McCartney last year only because Rebecca and my staff tricked me. They convinced me to catch ‘just one song’, and then she and the crew locked things down in the tent, they ran it like a well oiled machine so I could take a surprise break and catch the second half of the show. I never thought I’d ever get to see one of the Beatles,” Luke remembers.
But music and food aside, the heart of this business is still Rebecca and Luke. Luke speaks glowingly of Rebecca’s passion for cooking, and the fact that, like Puffs of Doom, Doom Street Eats is a predominantly woman owned and operated business. They’re excited about their work, their food, and their crew, but anyone who’s had the pleasure of spending time at their booth can tell they’re most excited about doing it together.