ROCKLAND, Maine — Food blogger and avid cook Malcolm Bedell is so close to his goal of opening a sandwich truck in Rockland that he can almost taste it.
That’s because Bedell, who runs the From Away food blog with his wife, Jillian, still needs to raise nearly $7,000 in just seven days in order to achieve the $25,000 goal he set on the online entrepreneurial fundraising site Kickstarter. If the project, called ‘’Wich, Please ,’ is not fully funded by Friday, Nov. 21, he will receive nothing from the backers, 249 of whom have pledged him real dollars in the three weeks since he launched the campaign.
“It’s getting to this terrifying stage,” he said in a Thursday telephone call from Las Vegas, where he is competing in the sandwich category of the invite-only World Food Championships for the second year in a row. “When you first set it up, you think here is this astronomical sum of money that I’ll never be able to raise. But once it starts happening and it seems like a possibility, it becomes this money you could potentially lose.”
Bedell, who moved from Rockland to southern California last winter to take a marketing job, said that he and his family are anxious to come home and turn their food truck dream into a reality.
“I want to open a food truck and I want to do it in Rockland,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been talking about food in Maine for so long now, it’s time to stop talking about it and jump into the ring and see if we can make it.”
Bedell loves to cook and he knows his way around a sandwich — last year placing third in one round at the championships and 13th overall in sandwiches, despite competing against 49 chefs from all around the world. He’s had other brushes with food fame, including winning the “Today” show’s 2013 viewer chicken-wing cook-off.
Once the sandwich truck is rolling, Bedell said he wants to find a way to keep the business going year-round, so it won’t just cater to summer tourists.
In it, he plans to make “incredible sandwiches, baked on fresh, crusty bread and filled with braised meats and locally-produced cheeses,” he wrote on the Kickstarter website. “Highbrow sandwiches made with garlic-roasted asparagus and quick-pickled onions in the summer. Lowbrow sandwiches packed with homemade lamb chili and cheese in the winter.”
Bedell said that he wants the sandwiches to cost no more than $6 or $7 each.
“$7 for a sandwich sounds steep, but not if it’s made with incredible stuff,” he said.
Bedell’s Kickstarter campaign started off with a bang when it became a staff pick within the first couple of days. The CEO of the online fundraising company even became a backer for Bedell’s project, which was exciting.
“It was really cool. It means we’re using his platform the way he envisioned it being used,” Bedell said.
Now, with just a week left to raise the remaining money, he is hoping that backers will find their way to his project. Depending on how much they pledge, backers can receive perks small and large — including bumper stickers, Twitter shoutouts, free sandwiches, signed copies of his cookbook, permission to cut to the front of the line at the sandwich truck and more.
“On Kickstarter, you get votes from the community that this is something we want. Make this happen,” Bedell said. “That is super encouraging.”
For more information, visit the website www.wichplease.me .