“The students really exemplified the Dalton difference during this project, and I am humbled and privileged to be a part of it.”
Dalton High School's culinary arts class recently created their own food truck experience, serving lunch to many of Dalton High's staff members. This event was the final project for Chef Nathan Greven's Culinary II class, who completed their food truck unit earlier this year.
"We simulated a real working food truck with everything except the truck itself," Greven said. "Teachers acted as our customers and they took orders from the "trucks", and then the students prepared the food for their "customers" to order during all 4 lunches."
In the food truck unit, students created their own business plans, designed uniforms and proposed a layout for their hypothetical food trucks. They also came up with menus, marketing plans and budgets.
However, Mateo Schultz, senior at Dalton High, said the project was originally going to just be theoretical.
"The food truck idea originally was a final project for third year students," Schultz said. "We had to theoretically open up and run a food truck. It was just an idea, but then Chef Greven came up with the idea to serve the food to the public. So, we proceeded to pick an item from our truck, and then serve it as if it were an actual restaurant setting."
Although the students in the Culinary II class have practiced their cooking skill before, this was their first time sharing those skills with the public. For Schultz, this only furthered his love of cooking.
"For me, I've always had a love for cooking," Schultz said. "It's a joy to be able to cook and try new things. Taking this class further added on to my love for it, and it's given me a lot of knowledge for later on in life."
In the class, students are exposed to a variety of potential careers in culinary arts. Schultz said he knows the experiences he's had at Dalton High will translate in future interviews in the culinary field.
"It helps with being able to apply for work and find a job because when you're going into an interview, you can say that you've had experience working in a kitchen setting and having to deal with a dinner rush or lunch rush and it gives you merit."
Nathan Perez, senior at Dalton High, said the advantages to the class go beyond preparation for a future career.
"People always have constant worries on how we're going to take care of ourselves," Perez said. "We always rely on our parents to feed us, but this class helps us prepare for the future and teaches us how to cook and also maintain our nutrition."
Chef Greven wanted an authentic experience for his students. His ultimate goal was to provide exposure to the real world and demonstrate the hard work that goes into this profession.
"My primary goal was to make this real and meaningful for my students," Greven said. "I wanted to make this as "real world" as possible, while removing some of the unknowns that can come from operating a food truck, due to this being their first time doing it and to set them up for success."
Greven said he is proud of his students for taking on this monumental task. Each student showcased his or her cooking skills while simultaneously satisfying "customers" in the process.
"The planning, time management, team work and perseverance really shone through as the students showcased their food," Greven said. "The students really exemplified the Dalton difference during this project, and I am humbled and privileged to be a part of it."
Despite the time and effort it took to convert this project into a reality, students were able to generate different pieces of newfound knowledge and understanding to improve this project for future students.
"It went really well for our first time doing this, but there are many things that can be changed and adapted to make it better," Schultz said. "All in all, it was a really good learning experience and a very fun time in doing it as well."