LAUSD introduces student food truck program led by Chef Roy Choi

Students in Los Angeles Unified will soon get the opportunity to operate a food truck on the city’s streets, demonstrating their culinary talents while gaining business management skills.

Previously this year, LAUSD superintendent Alberto Carvalho unveiled the district’s innovative food truck initiative in collaboration with software firm Intuit and Roy Choi, co-host of Netflix’s Chef Show.

This initiative involves two state-of-the-art food trucks with a commercial-grade kitchen that will be operated by students enrolled in vocational education programs at Maywood Academy High School and John H. Francis Polytechnic High School. The exact launch date for the program is currently unknown.

Carvalho’s 100-day plan initially focused on the significance of post-graduation plans and career paths for high schoolers.

“We want to ensure that every student leaving high school has either a college or university opportunity or access to career and technical education programs,” Carvalho emphasized.

Students at the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Maywood Academy High School (Jinge Li/The 74)

The students will oversee food preparation, marketing the food trucks, and managing all operational aspects.

“It’s enjoyable, it’s captivating. It’s intriguing,” shared Francisco Delatoree, a junior in the culinary program at Maywood, regarding the food truck initiative. “It sparked more interest in me to cook. I used to cook little, [but] now I cook for my family.”

Senior Emiliano Ponce expects the introduction of the food truck program to assist in deciding his future career path.

“It opens numerous doors… I’ve had a passion for cooking since my youth,” Ponce stated. “This program is aiding me in determining if I’ll pursue a culinary career or not.”

Roy Choi motivated students to celebrate their heritage and culinary traditions, stating, “I want you to see this food truck as not just an opportunity but also a reflection of yourselves and your culture.”

“From the smallest idea to the tiniest neighborhood, you have the potential to create an impact globally,” Choi added.

Having migrated to Los Angeles from Korea at the age of two, Choi transitioned from Michelin-starred eateries to the food truck sector in 2008. Today, Choi’s Kogi food truck is prominent in LA, positioning him as a key figure in the modern food truck movement.

LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho announcing the new food truck program with students at Maywood Academy (Jinge Li/The 74)

Carvalho, whose journey to academia was unconventional, having worked as a dishwasher and in construction before entering the educational sector, recognized the value of career-focused education through the launch of a technical high school.

“It paid off for those students,” Carvalho noted. “That early experience taught me the importance of enhancing options in the career and technical fields as equally valuable paths for students.”

Carvalho envisions the district providing diverse career and technical choices, connecting students not only to technology and entertainment but also preparing them for service-related industries.

“This announcement today is not just significant,” Carvalho emphasized. “It’s also an exceptionally exciting announcement.”

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