WAHS students compete in Food Truck Challenge | News, Sports, Jobs

Caitlin Barney and Michael Clemente of Top Waffles prepare a dish for judging Thursday at the Warren Area High School Food Truck Challenge.

Students in Lewann Alexander’s Family Consumer Science classes came up with original ideas, designed trucks, and made the food that would be served from them.

There were six groups in each of two classes.

“Many of the students in the WAHS foods classes love to participate with hands-on learning,” Alexander said. “This lesson has evolved throughout the past few years to what it is today — a foodtastic adventure.”

“Weeks of intensive learning and preparation lead to this event,” Alexander said. “I’m so proud of the WAHS Foods classes, they really did an outstanding job.”

WAHS students compete in Food Truck Challenge | News, Sports, Jobs

Bailey Roudybush, Ella Ordiway, and Audrey Smith of Food Truck Challenge 2023 Champion — Cluck It Up — talk about their chicken sandwich.

On Thursday, a group of hungry judges listened to the sales pitches, checked out the trucks, decorations, menus, and appearance of the food presentation, then sampled the food. After all that, they had to rank the groups on their work.

Those rankings added up to scores which determined the big winner for the day.

“Participants’ were asked to choose a food theme, design a truck around their food, ask other WAHS students for their opinions, research recipes, and, from scratch, create an essential dish that they must entice judges to purchase with their lone food truck buck,” Alexander said.

There were groups that had original recipes and others that had family favorites. Some found inspiration on Pinterest. Some knew what dishes they made well and went with that.

There were a number of breakfast-related feature dishes. “Who doesn’t like breakfast?” was a common refrain among those groups when asked why they chose the dishes they did.

“Only one winner, out of twelve kitchens, will rise to the ranks of the Food Truck Champion.”

The judges were Kellie Goldthwaite, Marcy Stanton, Michael Cradduck, Joe English, Josh Vincent, and Brian Ferry.

It was a tough job. Comparing the food from Alfredo Tornado to the Little Eataly or Fresh Off the Waffle to Top Waffles was pretty straightforward. But, comparing a waffle with ice cream to buffalo chicken macaroni to churros to a slushie is like comparing… well, it’s hard.

There were groups of five and groups of one (some groups didn’t have all their members available on Thursday).

The Meat Men had matching shirts made up for the competition. That earned them some points, as did their bacon cheeseburgers with fries and slaw.

Return of the Mac had theme music with their truck and delicious Buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese.

The Cookiria served up yummy double-chocolate cookies out of the oven in its miniature truck.

The judges raved over the food from the Tater-Nater.

Cluck It Up — Audrey Smith, Ella Ordiway, and Bailey Roudybush — edged Return of the Mac for the title of 2023 WAHS Food Truck Challenge Champion.

So far, Alexander hasn’t had any of her alumni move into the food truck business locally.

“As the judges and I discussed, it really would be amazing if one day one of these trucks came to fruition,” she said.

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