Mt. Pleasant Community High School students’ food trucks were open for business in a Food Truck Face Off on Thursday, Feb. 14.
Students in Culinary Arts II, Computer Graphics and Intro to Business collaborated in a Food Truck Face Off during parent-teacher conferences in the high school gym, serving sandwiches, soups and desserts as a part of a class project.
Before the food trucks — folding tables with descriptive and colorful tri-fold display boards — were open for business, Ambassadors with the Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber Alliance held a ribbon cutting.
Kristi Ray, executive vice president of the Chamber Alliance, said Ambassadors did a ribbon cutting for Food Truck Face Off to show their support for career and technical education.
“The classes they are teaching are so incredible and important to our business community,” Ray said, adding that these are the future employees of Mt. Pleasant.
Jesse Aynes, Chamber Ambassador, held a to-go box with a chicken, bacon and ranch wrap, loaded baked potato soup and a brownie.
“I think it’s really amazing. Food trucks are all the rage and to see these kids engaging and creating dishes is really amazing,” Aynes said.
Before coming up with a final dish to serve, groups chose four and market-tested them to bring it down to one, fan-favorite item.
Maui Whaley, a junior culinary student, served chili with her group “Steamy Soups.” They were even prepared with all the fixings — chips or crackers, sour cream, cheese, chives and jalapenos.
Whaley said other options they considered making were chicken tortilla, chicken noodle and ham and potato, but in market research, chili was the most popular.
Whaley said her group browned the meat the day before and added all the other ingredients on Thursday including diced tomatoes, chili powder, paprika and oregano.
“Cooking is a hobby,” Whaley said. “You get to experience different things and experiment and come up with your own creation,” Whaley said.
Baking is second nature for Carlos Gonzalez, a sophomore at Mt. Pleasant Community High School, who spent a year and a half working at his uncle’s bakery in New Jersey before moving to Mt. Pleasant.
“Not a lot of people know how to bake from scratch. It’s a really good skill to have,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez’s group, “Sweet Bites,” made chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and brownies with powdered sugar.
“We tried to keep it simple,” Gonzalez said. “It is Valentine’s Day and people do like chocolate.”
Olivia Hiatt, a sophomore culinary student with the group “Soup Gang” served her favorite — loaded baked potato soup. Her group cut potatoes, onions, celery and ham on Wednesday, the day before the Food Truck Face Off, and put everything together in a large crock pot on Thursday, adding milk, butter and cream.
Hiatt, who had yet to try her own creation, said she was nervous but excited to serve it to people.
Amanda Schurbon and Melody Miller, senior culinary students, were popular at their food truck “Love Me A Sandwich.” They served chicken, bacon and ranch wraps.
“We knew this would be a top hit,” Schurbon said.
Kearrah Wilson, a sophomore taking culinary, put ham and cheese sandwiches on panini presses for her group “Sliding with Style.” The panini had spicy mayo, cheddar, pepper jack, Swiss cheese and ham.
Gage Smithburg, a sophomore in intro to business, helped make “Sliding with Style”’s Facebook page to market their product.
“Anytime Cakes” served red velvet cupcakes, and Scandinavian butter cookies, which were rolled to look like ice cream cones. Hunter Bohnenkamb, a sophomore culinary student, said the red velvet was chosen to fit the day’s Valentine’s Day theme.
“It was fun to be here,” Bohnenkamb said.