Clark County students bring tasty food truck flair to fair

A tasty new addition to the Clark County Fair food scene will give local high school students a chance to test their culinary skills in a new arena: a food truck.

Or to be more precise, a retrofitted school bus.

About 20 culinary students from the Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center will take shifts dishing up food from a bus that has involved several of the school’s departments.

“We’re going to serve some incredible sandwiches,” said Chef Dave Hay, who teaches in the CTC’s culinary program and first came up with the idea of a food truck staffed by students.

Patrons can choose from seven sandwiches, including the Oh So Gouda (ham and pancetta, with a slice of fried smoked Gouda, all served on Italian bread) and The Italian Job (ham, pancetta, salami, pepperoni, homemade pizza sauce and fried mozzarella cheese, also on Italian bread). Homemade macaroni and cheese also will be offered.

One side of the bus features a serving window, Hay said. Inside are refrigeration units, a six-burner propane stove and oven, a food holding well and a sink. Inside the front door of the bus will be bench seats for visitors to learn more about the school.

The bus has been a labor of love for several CTC programs. Hay said the graphic arts department worked on designing the bus’s wrap, which features pictures of students from several CTC programs. Auto body and plumbing students also helped prepare the bus for its new role.

Proceeds from the food truck will cover product costs to keep it running and available for future events, like community festivals.

Students tested every aspect of the sandwiches, Hay said, down to the bread. They probably sampled 15 to 20 styles, searching for just the right consistency and flavor.

Chris James, executive director of the CTC, called the bus “our own driven billboard.” For the culinary students, it will provide additional knowledge, supplementing the experience they receive at the school’s student-run restaurant, the Jaguar Room.

“They just want to teach students that there are so many avenues to take,” James said.

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