Slavic father tackles language barrier with food truck business

Slavic man uses his food truck to overcome language barrier.
Published: Feb. 4, 2023 at 11:33 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Vladimir Shokov is from Kazakhstan and is on the come-up with serving dishes. After two decades as a truck driver and three weeks in the hospital, Shokov was inspired to start a business with food from an unexpected life change.

“I got diabetes from all the medicine given in the hospital. Because of that, I was not able to drive the truck anymore because my sugar level goes too high when driving for long distances,” Shokov said in translation.

Shokov’s native tongue is Russian so his only issue is communicating with the customers. His bilingual son, Ilya, is with him — being a major bridge in alleviating the language barrier.

The food truck is called “World Grill’ because it’s a platter of different cuisines every week.

“We serve, mainly, Caucasian and Slavic foods so that’s kebabs, chebureki, different meat pies. We also have some Asian food like lo mein, then we have American and South American foods like chili, hamburgers, different sandwiches,” Translator Ilya Shokov said.

Vladimir said more work happens here than when he was driving trucks, from marinading meat the day before to working the grill.

According to Ilya, the father in his fifties knows common English phrases but never had a chance like this to learn the language before. He enjoys the other opportunities World Grill brings for his dad to grow.

“The main thing I do is translate, and I enjoy it because, this way, I get to help my dad to learn English. This way, he hears the conversation more. I, sometimes, push him to talk to customers on his own, so he can practice speaking more English,” Shokov said.

For now, World Grill only serves on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. but will start serving on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well in March. Shokov is also doing events which can be booked by calling 540-560-1961.

Vladimir Shokov hopes the food truck in the University Outpost Bookstore parking lot at 1221 Forest Hill Road is a stepping stone to him having his own restaurant one day.