At the same time many teens are learning to drive, some Duval County students are also learning to cook behind the wheel.
Two high school teams competed in a food truck cook off at the Duval Schools administration building this week. The two teams, which have been competition all year, are made up of teens from five different schools and the students assume the roles of a professional food truck.
One school is responsible for supplying cooks, another supplies a logistics team, and another is responsible for marketing.
Thirty minutes before the lunch rush Monday, 11th-grader Quiron Burns of Frank H. Peterson's team "Fired Up" is prepping Mexican cuisine, including chicken tacos and ropa vieja tacos.
“It’s a shredded beef taco,” he explained. “It’s rolled-up and it’s cooked in the oven.”
Burns steps out of his truck, splashed with pop-art style designs. While he said the team works well together, there is a downside.
“The spacing,” Burns said.”Trying to space ourselves out and work together — that would be the most difficult thing.”
And the trucks, donated by Chartwells, are a tight squeeze. On the truck of their competitor "Chop Chef," Terry Parker culinary students are working with a luau-themed menu.
“Here we have our corn, our potatoes, and our sausage and shrimp for the shrimp boil. And over here the Mountain Dew pound cake,” Chop Chef’s Jason Phipps said.
The Chop Chef truck is decorated, too, including a table adorned with a grass skirt. And Phipps says there’s no doubt his team will win.
“Our food ... is going to wow the audience,” he said.
The teams, made up of students from a handful of schools, are judged on more than just food.
As Duval Schools employees order from the trucks, students from Raines and Atlantic Coast advertise for their teams, while students from Ribault and Wolfson handle the money.
One student was talking up Fired Up’s cheesecake bars.
“It’s organic; delicious,” he said. Another is showcasing a plate of chicken wings from Chop Chef.
The students are judged with a rubric, including which team sold the most to which team exhibited the best communication.
The verdict: Team Chop Chef won the event, but Fired Up has racked up the most points all year.