The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Culinary Arts Instructor Aspires to Start Food Truck Business

Los Altos Culinary Arts instructor Patty Fambrini will soon achieve one more goal that she can check off her list: professional food trucker. This past summer, Fambrini went on a food trucking adventure with her niece in the Lake Tahoe area, selling homemade empanadas at local fairs. When the school year started, Fambrini decided that she would buy a food truck to not only start a gourmet food business, but also to provide her culinary students with a chance to expose themselves to the restaurant business. Although starting a business on top of teaching seems like a considerable amount of work, Fambrini attributes her determination to achieve her goals to an amazing work ethic.

The first step of the food truck business is of course the food. Over the past few weeks, Fambrini’s students have designed their own menus, learning the basics of food cost, labor cost and profit margins and creating potential food options for the truck. Through this process, Fambrini’s students have created “Dirty Dawgs” (bacon wrapped hot dogs), “Nachos Nachos”, “Bob’s Kabobs” (chicken kabobs with fried rice) and enchiladas.

Senior Alejandra Silva Buenrostro, sophomore Adara Pineda and junior Gregorio Castorena worked with the team that made enchiladas. Their team was inspired by the traditional flavors of their South American culture, and they created a colorful plate of chicken enchiladas filled with varying shades of green, white and red, and paired with rice.

“We decided that we wanted to make enchiladas,” Alejandra said. “We didn’t [know how to] make these [at first], but our background and family members had made these a lot, so we kind of had experience.”

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Having been in the restaurant business since 16, Fambrini’s experiences have helped her realize the grit it takes to succeed, and understand the difficulties of starting a business. Inevitably, with any great endeavour comes its certain obstacles.

“I was ready to put a down payment on [a truck], but unfortunately it was already sold.” Fambrini said. “That was a real setback for me.”

Despite some preliminary challenges, Fambrini’s work ethic is what drives her to persevere.

“I have a motto in life: you work hard and you play hard,” Fambrini said. “I always reach for those stars, and I’ve always done everything I ever wanted, because I put in the hours to get back what I want.”

Fambrini plans on catering to large crowds of people during farmer’s markets, fairs and festivals like the Los Altos Art and Wine Festival, the Stockton Asparagus Festival and Fort Mason Food Truck Fair. But one of the most important aspects in starting her food truck is advertising.

“First we have to come up with a great name,” Fambrini said. “Then, we are going to launch it in the local newspaper. And when the word goes out, it’s all over.”

Fambrini’s ambitious plans to start a food truck business do not stop at festivals and farmer’s markets.

“My dream would to be to get on the Food Network and do the Food Truck Challenge with some of my students.” Fambrini said. “It takes a lot of work, but if we already have the truck, and it’s already cheeried out with all the equipment we need, why not? We just have to cook, right?”

Fambrini’s will to achieve her goals not only stems from her work ethic, but also from her passion for cooking and supporting her students.

“If you don’t like doing something, another door will always open up for you,” Fambrini said. “You have to have that conviction, that self esteem and you have to forge ahead.”

And forging ahead is exactly what Fambrini has done. Fambrini sold a café she owned two years ago so she could dedicate all effort to teaching students at the school. Although she is looking forward to starting her food truck business, Fambrini says that her greatest passion is teaching students.

“In life you must enjoy what you do, or why bother doing it?” Fambrini said.

Fambrini hopes that by early spring of 2014 she will be able to share her food truck dream with the rest of the world.

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