On Friday, November 15, a game day for Yorktown High School, students poured into the stands, but some stopped before entering the stadium to purchase food. They bought their snacks not from the snack bar, but from Off the Pike, the student-run food truck owned by the Culinary Arts and Sciences class at the Career Center.
“The fact that we’re [at Yorktown means] it’s going better than I’d hoped,” teacher Chef Renee Randolph said.
The idea for the truck stemmed from the Off the Pike restaurant, based in the Career Center Culinary Artsand Sciences classroom, hosted every other month. Like the food truck, the restaurant is completely operated by students. Success with the restaurant inspired the students to branch outside of the Career Center and work community events. The primary supervisor of these events is Chef Randolph.
“[The menu] changes every Off The Pike… we tell Chef [when we like something] to put it on the menu,” Wakefield High School senior Isaiah Wells said.
Acquiring the food truck was no easy feat. Students spent the bulk of the 2018-2019 school year raising $19,000 to fund the truck. They did this by selling roughly 500 pies at Thanksgiving time, as well as holding their restaurant every other month at the Career Center, Off the Pike.
“So those [helped us raise money], as well as we do a lot of catering activities for programs and schools across the county,” Chef Randolph said.
The Culinary Arts and Sciences program took the food truck out for the first time on Friday, November 15 when they brought it to Yorktown High School’s football playoff game. There, exceeding their expectations, they made more than $200 by half-time.
“For a first night, we’re more than happy,” Chef Randolph said.
For their first outing, the class decided to serve two types of tacos, shrimp and chicken. They were served in paper baskets along with yellow rice and black beans. All of the food served was made by the students in the classroom just prior to the event and
kept warm by resources in the food truck.
“When we do our restaurant, we do a bang bang shrimp and it’s our most popular item. So, we wanted to [serve] something we knew guests would like,” Chef Randolph said. “But this isn’t our final menu though, it’s just a soft opening.”
Working the truck is not mandatory, since it is operated after school hours. On November 15, they received about 10 volunteers from the Culinary Arts and Sciences levels one to three. Many students volunteer for the chance to improve their culinary skills and gain real-life experience, which they say will help them in the future.
“I’m going to go to a college that’s related to [the] culinary [field],” senior Frida Angeles said.
In the future, the Culinary Arts and Sciences class is hoping that their food truck will be called upon for events, just like other catering options. At the moment they are planning to serve Drew Elementary School in February for their African American history celebration, and they will potentially go to more of Yorktown’s home football playoff games.
“Now that we’re out, we’re getting calls from all across the county who want to work with us, so we’re excited,” Chef Randolph said.