Helena chef bringing Italian food with food truck

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

HELENA — Chef Joe Sciarrotta, a Helena local, has spent the better part of his life preparing and serving food in a professional setting and will now fulfill a lifelong dream of owning his own restaurant through a food truck.

Sciarotta credits his upbringing in a very traditional Italian family for his love of food, which has led him to open his new venture known as the Hey Bebe food truck with his wife Kathy Sciarrotta, who also owns the Treats Truck.

“Coming from a 100-percent Sicilian family, it was all about the food. My mom did a lot of the cooking until my brother and I got a little bit older,” Sciarrotta said. “She stopped cooking and made us do it all.”

Through the truck, Sciarotta wants to bring the traditional Italian dish Boululatta, which is Italian bread rolled with different meats and herbs and seasonings, to the city and surrounding areas.

“I think coming up with something that reflects my Italian heritage is really important to me. To combine that with the New Orleans history that I have is very important,” Sciarrotta explained. “We make a fresh bread dough and stuff it with different proteins like Italian sausage, ground beef and cheddar, five cheeses, shrimp, turkey and Swiss. Down the road, I may try other meats. They are rolled in Italian bread dough and baked, like a savory pinwheel you can eat out of hand.”

The other major offering from the food truck will be stuffed bakers, or baked potatoes stuffed with a variety of meats, vegetables and cheeses. Part of the menu will include what he called “Dippers and Drippers,” which are different kinds of sauces that can be eaten with the food.

Sciarrotta said that he has been working in kitchens for the last 30 years and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, but going out on his own will fulfill a lifelong dream of owning his own kitchen, and even better doing it in his own way.

“The first thing is that I wanted to be unique. I am a pretty unique individual myself and I like to reflect that in what I do,” he said. “When you are young, you always dream of owning your own restaurant. If you come into the food trailer it is a kitchen on wheels. When I designed the trailer, I designed it to last for the next 5-10 years, and now I can go anywhere and do anything.”

Sciarrotta explained that he and his wife have made it to where they are today because of the support of their community and through their strong family bonds as well.

“We are always doing something in the community, and we are also very family oriented. You wouldn’t be who you are without your mom or dad,” he said. “They were my inspiration to be in the culinary arts, and I wouldn’t be here without them. We are just everyday hardworking people and trying to scratch our way to the top.”

Chef Joe planned to debut the Hey Bebe food truck at the Helena Holiday Festival on Dec. 4 and will begin traveling to different outdoor events and neighborhoods and subdivisions.

More information about the Hey Bebe truck can be found on the Treats Truck page at Facebook.com/Trrat5/.