LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A food truck wasn’t part of Victor Hickson’s career plan.
“I never thought that this would be something that, at 54, that this would be something I’m doing to take care of my family,” he said.READ MORE: Gov. Cuomo Signs Gender Recognition Act, Expanding Protections For Transgender And Non-Binary New Yorkers
His wife Alicia and sons Victor, Jr. and Noah were the ones who pushed him to turn his passion into a profession.
“They knew I could do it,” he said. “One day, I just did.”
His family and friends now help him run Vic’s Heart N Soul Food, a roving kitchen known for its ribs and fried fish.
On Saturdays, the truck usually parks beside The Home Depot in Coram or across from the Middle Island Fire Department—those signed up for Vic’s text message alerts receive location updates.
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Hickson’s culinary interest started early. When other kids played outside, he opted to stay in the kitchen and help his mother cook.
“I went to culinary school, but, to tell you the truth, they didn’t really teach me anything,” he said. “Ninety percent of all of the stuff I do I learned from my mother.”
Brown sugar, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper meld in the dry rub for his ribs. Cheddar, gouda, and mozzarella go into the macaroni and cheese, which is baked in the oven on the truck.READ MORE: East Flatbush Hit-And-Run Victim In Critical Condition; Neighbor Says Cars Speed Through Intersection 'All The Time'
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Hickson doesn’t believe in shortcuts. For him, same-day preparation is the key to freshness—even when it means sacrificing sleep. On a typical Saturday, he wakes up around 3:00 A.M. to begin the day’s chopping, blending, and marinating.
His philosophy has proven successful.
“In the beginning, it was locals,” he said. “But now, people come from all over, and I feel honored about that. Somebody said they traveled 50 miles to come and get some ribs last week. It was amazing.”
Hickson relies on the support of his family and community. 13-year-old family friend Anthony Rojas helps with prep and serving. Victor, Jr. is “the brains of the operation.” His wife Alicia keeps him grounded. “She’s a go-getter,” he said.
For Hickson, Vic’s Heart N Soul Food is a source of pride and gratitude.
“If nobody came and paid me a dollar today for any of this food, it wouldn’t matter to me because I really love doing it that much.”
Vic’s Heart N Soul Food Truck
Text “VICS” to 21000 for location updates
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