When it comes to heat, Dan Salls is one chef who knows how to stand it in the kitchen.
Salls quit his day job less than a year ago as a financial adviser to take his amateur cooking skills on the road and open The Salsa Truck, the first licensed mobile food preparer in Chicago.
"When I left my job we were in my apartment every night with culinary textbooks," Salls said. "This is how you make mayonnaise, this is how you bake bread. So we really started from the ground up because we wanted to cook with purpose."
The Salsa Truck provides more than the name implies, though the menu certainly spotlights salsa. Various tacos and quesadillas, as well as soup, rice, beans and chips, are all offered curb-side.
It's the authentic kind of food Salls imagined making, and though he hopes to expand the menu, this is the cuisine he always had in mind.
"We knew we had to do something special," Salls said. "We didn't want to be the food truck that went out there and started doing twists. We try to keep it as authentic as possible."
"We do everything from scratch. Nothing comes from a can."
The food truck has been Salls' foot in the door. He plans to open his own brick-and-mortar restaurant, The Garage, in the next few weeks. The restaurant offers a sort of lunch-counter atmosphere, and he plans to let other food trucks serve some of their items on his menu.
When asked if his food business is worth leaving his job for, Salls doesn't hesitate.
"We are out here every day living our dream and making people happy, so what's wrong with that."