Buckeye Beat: CMSD Students Run Food Truck

[Ashton] Sloppy Joes, grilled cheese, tater tots, PB and J, they're the foods of many

Clevelanders childhoods, and this month they're being served up by the students of

Jane Adams Business Career Center right out the window of their iconic food truck. An eatery that's been years in the making.

- We were having a meeting about four and a half years ago, and the CEO has said to one my former coworkers at the time, what do you need for the program, and you know she was saying oh maybe we need um, I don't know, maybe some new tables or something for the dining room. He's like no, think outside of the box.

[Ashton] And that's how the Executive Grill on the Go was born. In those four and a half years, the district's mechanics, along with some students from Max Hayes High School, refurbished an old school bus, pulling out those classic bench seats and replacing them with prep stations, grill tops, and refrigerators. Once they had a work space it had to be inspected and certified. And then came the menu, which Szalkowski says was inspired by the foods he and his fellow Jane Adams instructors remember from their days in school lunch rooms.

- So then we started pulling from those ideas, mac and cheese and things, and then presented them to the students and said let's take a twist on this, what do you want to do? And then the creativity started to build from there.

[Ashton] Peanut butter and jelly became the Elvis, the classic sandwich grilled and topped with honey and banana. Old school nachos and cheese come loaded with black beans, jalapenos, and your choice of chicken or beef. Students tested the recipes, made some adjustments, and officially debuted their creations at a food truck gathering in downtown Cleveland this summer. The students are taking away more than a paycheck and school credit.

- As soon as we get out, we meet different people, as you can see over there. And we learn how to work in different environments.

[Ashton] Imani Haskins chose to attend Jane Adams in the eighth grade because of its culinary program. After years of experimenting in her kitchen at home, feeding her own family, Imani says it’s the creativity of cooking that's kept her attention.

- I like taking from different cultures, and plating it and making it my own because it’s like, it’s art, you're getting different types of food and you're just plating it to make it look really beautiful. And it's like coming alive.

[Ashton] Now a senior, Haskins is hoping her time on the food truck will help her learn not just the culinary, but also the management and hospitality skills she needs to open her own business someday. Until then, it's one sloppy Joe at a time.

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