Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Camosun students serve it up with new food truck

January 8, 2018 by Adam Marsh, student editor 

Students in Camosun’s Culinary Arts program are keeping their fellow students’ hunger at bay with hot food served up fresh out of their new food truck. The food truck has been operating at the Interurban campus, selling bowls of ramen noodles with pork or chicken, vegetables, and an egg for $10.

Camosun chair of Culinary Arts Steve Walker-Duncan says the food truck moves to various locations around the campus to make sure all students have equal opportunity to try the food. In January, he says, the menus and locations will be changing (he was unsure of the details at press time). The food trucks create a unique experience for his students, he says.

“We’re actually getting them out of the comfort zone we’ve created here at the Culinary Arts centre. We want to put them right out there,” he says, “up close and personal, right in front of people in the environment, where it’s a little bit of sink or swim. You’ve got to be ready. You’ve got to be prepared. You’ve got to be capable of working quickly and working effectively, and doing a number of different things at the same time.”

Camosun College chair of Culinary Arts Steve Walker-Duncan (photo by Adam Marsh/Nexus).

Walker-Duncan says this hands-on experience is essential to students because it’s what the industry is looking for.

“They want people to be able to interact with guests, they want people to be able to multitask, they want people to be able to think on their feet,” he says. “These are incredibly valuable skills.”

Walker-Duncan says a key aspect of doing well and thriving in that setting is teamwork.

“Those teams rotate together, so it’s almost a cohort-based system,” he says.

Students take turns in different positions in the kitchens and typically will stay working as a team throughout the term, rather than working with everybody once or twice.

“[They’re] learning what it means to communicate and interact with people that are going to, ultimately, pay their salary—that’s what it boils down to—and to provide them with a service that they’re happy about and that they’re going to come back for,” he says.

Walker-Duncan says food is one of the most unique things on the planet: everyone needs it to survive, but it can also be used to bond with one another, find a common ground, and break the ice. He says this is especially relevant with a broader scope of nationalities and ethnicities being represented on campus.

“I think the diversity of cuisine is certainly something that is creating conversation,” he says. “We had a couple of people commenting on the origins of one dish we were doing—where it came from, and was it specific to a region or was it a hybrid of different influences? Food is the tie that binds us all across the planet. Everybody has to eat.”

See camosun.ca for info on the food cart’s times and locations.

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