Food Truck Wars: CPS students compete for the best food truck recipe – Advice Eating

Josue Cervantes learned to cook from the women in his family. His mother shared recipes from her mother and his grandmother shared his great-grandmother’s recipes. Now Josue would like to open his own restaurant one day.

“I’ve always told[my mom]that I want to bring back hidden gems that don’t really have a place here in the United States and are commonly found in Mexico,” said Josue, 17. “I want to… bring out new flavors and.” bringing a new palette to people so they can get a little glimpse of what Mexico really is.”

Josue developed his skills through CPS’ career and technical education program at North-Grand High School, 4338 W. Wabansia Ave. in Humboldt Park, refined.

The technical program takes lessons from everyday classes like math and science to provide training in real-world workplaces like the kitchen and hospitality fields.

“When they attend culinary arts school or another path, the skills they learn are transferrable and valuable to our students,” said Sherry Franklin, CPS Instructional Support Specialist.

On Friday, Josue and a team of five others demonstrated some of those skills in a food truck competition against three other schools.

Candace Williams, 35, culinary chef instructor at Manley Career Academy High School, helps Manley students (center) Layla Sylvester, 17, and Antonio Anderson, 17, set up their Burrito Baby booth during the Food Truck Wars – Set up event on Friday.

Each school submitted business plans for a truck along with a menu. Then they offered samples that the students had cooked at school that morning.

Manley Career Academy’s Burrito Baby Truck featured breakfast burrito bowls; The Roberto Clemente School truck, named Stuff It, offered chicken gyros.

“We wanted to bring back some hidden memories that are locked inside us as teenagers and adults,” Josue said. He said the goal is to evoke the feeling of watching cartoons on a Saturday morning. So they created The Krusty Sponge with SpongeBob SquarePants-inspired Krabby Patties (a veggie burger sold in the cartoon).

These efforts earned North-Grand awards for Best Food Truck Design, for their colorful burgers and sodas, and for Best Pitch.

Burgers and fries made by students at North-Grand High School.

Burgers and fries prepared by North-Grand High School students for the Food Truck Wars, a cook-off hosted by the Chicago Public Schools at the Englewood Community Kitchen. The students created a food truck inspired by “The Krusty Sponge” from SpongeBob SquarePants.

But it was Vaughn Occupational’s wide range of ice creams — hand-scrambled and made with herbs from their hydroponic garden — that won the best recipe.

The judges included representatives from across the culinary industry, including Hill Food Services Consulting, Aramark Food Services and Everfi, which offers a program where students operate a simulated food truck.

“One thing I was looking for was the depth of thought that went into the concept they were trying to bring to this food truck,” said Jonathan Barnes, an Everfi judge. “Food trucks are super popular, so we were looking for really innovative concepts, but also really great food.”

Barnes said Vaughn’s ice cream was some of the best he’d ever eaten.

“You can taste the fun they had making it and the hard work they put in getting the balance and combinations right,” he said.

Anthony McPhee, program director at Careers through Culinary Arts Programs, was shocked that the students had hand-churned the ice.

“It tastes delicious,” he said. “This would easily be a $3 to $5 bowl. And they have their own garden – that’s a good example of Farm to Table.”

Handmade ice cream made by students at Vaughn Occupational High School won Best Recipe in the Food Truck Wars competition.

Vaughn’s Fruitastic Herbalicious Frozen Treats ice cream, prepared by students at Vaughn Occupational High School, won Best Recipe in the Food Truck Wars contest.

Everfi’s Anna Urban urged students to look for more opportunities to get involved in the field of culinary arts. “Keep trying and keep working at it. It’s such a rewarding career field that I feel like all of these kids could do really well in it.”

Many students shared stories similar to Josue’s on Friday. Vaughns Gustavo Patino, 22, became interested in the kitchen after watching his mother cook for the family. Tatianna Bowlton, 17, from Clemente, used to follow her grandfather in the kitchen. And Antonio Anderson, 17, who visits Manley, said his mother always asked him for help when he was little.

That’s why Tatianna said it doesn’t give bad feelings to the winners.

“We’re still proud,” Tatianna said, adding that Friday was more about the experience than a prize.

But she and all the other students were surprised when Dr. Brian Hill, owner of Hill Food Service Consulting, said they would get $100 each for buying monogrammed chef jackets.

“I want one in pink,” Tatianna said, laughing.

Cynthia Sandoval, a student at North-Grand High School, learns that all students in the Food Truck Wars competition would receive $100 if they bought their own chef's jackets.

Like the other students, Cynthia Sandoval (right), who attends North-Grand High School, was surprised by the news that all students in the Food Truck Wars competition would receive $100 to buy their own chef’s jackets.

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