Gourmet food trucks are a cultural phenomenon. They’re an increasingly familiar sight on city streets and college campuses. There’s a new food truck hitting the streets in mid-Michigan soon, and this one is different. Current State's Kevin Lavery reports on the first food truck run by high school students in the state of Michigan.
Millions of teenagers spend their high school years working in fast food restaurants. That first job at the grill or the cash register has been a rite of passage in America for generations. For many, it’s their first taste of the working world.
Now, a small group of high school students in Ingham County is taking that experience to a new level. The food isn’t quite as fast, but it certainly is “to go.”
Current State’s Kevin Lavery reports on the entrepreneurial vision of “Fresh and Furious.”
EDITED INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS
What does the Capital Area Career Center’s culinary arts and hospitality program offer students?
(Day) We train students to go right out into the field and learn the management side of a restaurant. We have all of our students working full time right now. We’re talking about 16 (and) 17 year olds who are out there managing and learning how to manage restaurants right now. Obviously with the new food truck, we’ll have some new ventures we can do with that as well.
What are the project’s origins?
(Wulff) My instructor came up to me and said “I want something that’s going to set our program apart. What ideas do you have?” And I came back with “What about a food truck?” And that’s when he threw it at me: "If you can get the proposal ready and propose it next Thursday, we’ll do it." And so I worked my tail off for that five or six days that he gave me and proposed it. And then when my principal stood up and shook my hand after the meeting, she said “This blew my mind today.” I was like “Yes, this is what’s going to set our program apart. This is what’s going to happen.”
Why is the food truck different from other culinary programs?
(Wulff) This is the first food truck in the state of Michigan to be run by high school students and while there are some food trucks out in East Lansing--I think there’s one (at) MSU--none of them are as learning-based as this. They’re obviously very much about profits and stuff… but we also are emphasizing the students and getting them out into the real world…to work on their speed and accuracy and customer service. (It’s) just a very reality-based introduction to the food service industry.