The Taste of the Philippines got a taste of politics yesterday when Secretary of State Scott Gessler stopped by the food truck on the 16th Street Mall during the lunch rush for some chicken adobo, manok sa gata and lumpia.
Though Gessler says he doesn't think he'd ever had Filipino food before, a desire to try new foods was not the primary reason for his visit. Kathy Gietl, the food truck's owner, was featured in one of Gessler's voter registration advertisements, in which an actor stopped random people throughout the state and asked them if they were signed up to vote.
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Since she was located at a stationary food truck, Gietl was pretty much the only participant in that ad that Gessler's office was able to track down. So he decided to eat lunch there and deliver her a signed copy of a poster featuring her food truck. And try some Filipino food at the same time.
Gietl, 29, has operated the food truck on the mall for about six months. A former accountant, she decided to switch careers and, with the help of her mother, opened up A Taste of the Philippines, which she thinks is the first mobile Filipino food operation in Colorado.
She shared a bit of her backstory with Gessler when he visited yesterday.
"It's awesome -- I'm all giddy," said Gietl, as Gessler chowed down. "It's great for business...and it's my little fifteen minutes of fame."
Gietl was happy to participate in the ad so long as she didn't have to discuss her own political views or which candidate she would be voting for in November. "A lot of people think voting doesn't matter, but it does," she said, adding that she hopes more people registered to vote because of the commercial.
Now that she runs a business, she's more tuned into politics and the presidential race," she explained. "As a business owner, I'm taking more of a stand.... It's more important to me."
Gietl is from Quezon City in the Philippines, and has lived in the United States for twenty years. She spent most of her life in Illinois and moved to Denver about six years ago; she now lives downtown. Her truck is parked at 16th and Champa streets, and operates Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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Visit The Latest Word for more on Gessler's stop and the registration effort that Gietl participated in. Continue here for more photos.