What do you get when you combine an Amazon-inspired food truck, Mediterranean-Israeli cuisine, a stay-at-home dad turned chef from Germany and a self-proclaimed scatterbrain traveler/restaurateur from Switzerland—best friends from their crazy college days in London? Nobody really knows how The Spice Boys began, or how they got to Florida, but they’re very much here now. Head Chef Stephen Schmitt kicks on the generator in his Hawaiian shirt and bandana, while Sous Chef Carl Kolber preps in the back, in a flamboyant tiger button-down and his own bandana—their standard uniform for Sarasota’s newest, most noticeable food truck, The Spice Boys. Making stops at the Lakewood Ranch Farmers Market on Wednesdays, the atLarge studio’s parking lot in the Rosemary on Thursdays and various local destinations/events on Fridays, you may want to do yourself a favor and hunt down this foodie vessel breaking the standard American mold, aiming to be part of a more elevated movement, with a variety of high-end dishes curated with quality and rich in culture. “But without all the frills and refinements of fine dining,” says Kolber. “We enjoy balanced levels of acid and heat, evenly mixed with hearty veggies and meat.”

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.

Not exactly fitting into any one food category, but struggling to brand their fare, the wordly partners-in-crime ultimately decided on ‘Modern Israeli Cuisine’, because many of the dishes are, in fact, Israeli. “All the food we make is what we most like to eat ourselves,” says Schmitt. “And we tend to gravitate to the healthy, bold flavors of Israel.” Having traveled there multiple times, they were heavily influenced by the popular breakfast sandwich, sabich. The Spice Boys’ sabich consists of a baked pita kofta, stuffed with eggplant, crispy potato, cabbage, poached egg, tahini, schug (Israeli green salsa and sesame paste) and amba (tangy, yet potent mango-pickled sauce). 

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At times straying from the Holy Land, many migrant dishes integrate a worldly mosaic of Middle Eastern, North African and Mediterranean flavors—spicy, colorful, zesty, bold and you’ll be hardened not to identify an entire spice rack. Everything from cumin, coriander, tzatziki, cloves, garlic, tahini, chilies and cayenne makes its way into eclectic menu. The Spice Boys will sometimes even find an ingredient truly amazing, and collaborate on dishes unexpected to come through a food truck window. “This is definitely not fast food,” says Schmitt. “There’s a lot of labor and love that goes into our food.” Take the 24-hour sous vide oxtail, the eight-hour braised pulled lamb burger or the Benton’s ham aged 14 months and served with a “red eye” coffee mayo, housemade pickles and fresh challah bread. The Chicken Brioche is a tenderized thigh, deboned by Schmitt himself, and cooked with bacon, slaw, avocado/peanut-harissa mayo and banana peppers, while the Roasted Whole Cauliflower is as much about taste as presentation with watercress pesto, almonds, pomegranates and labneh (strained Greek yogurt). 

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HEAD CHEF STEPHEN SCHMITT AND SOUS CHEF CARL KOLBER TAKE THEIR CULINARY SHOW ON THE ROAD AS THE SPICE BOYS.

Considering the extreme intricacy and processes of many of Kolber and Schmitt’s dishes, the scratch-kitchen menu remains limited to three to six dishes a day. Beef or fish shawarmas (kebabs) one day, homemade hummus the next, but the ‘Spice Boys Wings’ seem to be staying put on the chalkboard by popular demand—tossed in a secret sauce and “numbingly spicy.” 

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A TRADITIONAL ISRAELI BREAKFAST, THE SABICH SANDWICH UNITES EGGPLANT, POTATO, CABBAGE, POACHED EGG AND MORE.