Our area has an impressive array of chefs and restauranteurs who come from every corner of the world to show off here in the Triangle. However, we’re incredibly lucky to have many of these culinary connoisseurs who hail from the Tar Heel State originally, too. This Hometown Heroes series will feature food service establishments of every realm from restaurants, food trucks, food products, culinary services and beyond. We will include just enough information on these local foodie superstars to give you a “quick bite” that we hope will inspire you to go out and try their food for yourself. First up is STUFT Food Truck…
How did your culinary venture start?
Stephanie Ruggiro graduated from UNCW with a degree in communications before embarking on a career in Manhattan. A few months in, Stephanie yearned for a change of pace and longed to be back with friends and family. After quitting her NYC job, she traveled around before coming back home to North Carolina to decide which career path she wanted to take. She spent a day working on a friend’s food truck when it finally hit home: she wanted to open up a food truck of her own. Her parents had a potato business back in the day, so Stephanie utilized this past experience and knowledge to create STUFT Food Truck.
What makes STUFT unique to the Triangle?
After doing her market research, Stephanie discovered there were no food trucks or venues serving up gourmet stuffed potatoes in the Triangle. Drawing on family experience, Stephanie decided to open up STUFT in April 2014. She was ready to develop this niche market of gourmet potatoes by making sure the food is high quality, but visually appealing. “I always tell everyone on the truck that presentation is key. With everyone taking pictures and posting on social media now, I want to make sure every item that comes off my truck looks good. People eat with their eyes and I want them to see it looks good before biting into it and realizing it tastes as good as it looks,” says Stephanie.
What makes the Triangle “home” for you?
Stephanie hails from Cary, North Carolina and says she “grew up here and is proud to be working here in the Triangle.” She loves working in a fast-paced environment to be able to serve up delicious dishes to her Triangle neighbors. “From start to finish, our truck to the food we produce, everything is North Carolina. Everyone I know is here and I love being able to share that with people in the Triangle. I like being a local who can give back to the community that’s given so much to me.”
Where can we find the culinary creations?
Note: From time to time we’re invited out to try a restaurant or to taste new menu items. This meal is usually comped, as this one was. We’re under no obligation to write a positive review or any review at all when we’re invited out to try a place. Every review you see on our site will be an honest review of the place whether or not the restaurant provided us with the meal at their cost.
Tessa Nguyen is a chef and registered dietitian working in the Triangle area. She is an alumna of Johnson & Wales University and Meredith College. When Tessa isn’t traveling and discovering new food spots, she teaches culinary nutrition cooking classes at Duke and works as a consultant in the health and wellness industry. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter @