With her Made in Brazil food truck, Utahn celebrates her childhood in São Paulo

The new truck has won an early Salt Award; voting in other categories continues through Friday.

As child in São Paulo, Anne Mouritsen enjoyed watching her father experiment in the kitchen.

She’d watch him play with unusual ingredients in traditional dishes — and, of course, taste the final product. Cooking with him fostered her passion for sharing traditional Brazilian dishes and inspired her to open her Made in Brazil food truck in West Jordan seven months ago.

“I love seeing people connect with the food I grew up making,” she said, describing truck favorites: feijoada, a black bean stew with beef and pork; fried savory pies called pastels; and coxinhas — fried dough stuffed with flavorful shredded chicken, a staple of Brazilian street food.

Earlier this month, her truck competed with others that have opened in the past 18 months and was selected by voters for a Salt Award, The Salt Lake Tribune’s recognition of businesses, restaurants and experiences that add unique local flavor to life in Utah.

The competition at the inaugural Food Truck and Brewery Battle kicked off voting for the Salt Awards, which continues through Sept. 1 at tribsalt.com/voting. Other categories include favorite ski resort, music venue, coffee experience and spot for weekend brunch.

For Mouritsen, winning the Salt Award for New Food Truck affirmed her decision to open Made in Brazil and share her heritage through food.

“We were completely surprised because we were in such great company,” she said. “You never know how much people are going to enjoy your food, and we are so proud.”

Eventgoers also voted for breweries at the battle, with RoHa Brewing Project taking home the accolade. The brewery opened in the spring, and operations manager Jamie Burnham said the staff hit the ground running to get its beer out to the public.

“Winning the award goes to show that we put our best foot forward and people like the beer,” she said.

Hearing customers praise her food doesn’t get old, Mouritsen said. At the battle, she said, customers took pictures of the truck’s food and posted about how much they liked it.

“People will try your food,” she said, “and say it’s so great and like nothing they’ve ever had before.”