Texas High School culinary arts program unveils new food truck

Executive chef says program ‘unmatched’

The new Culinary Arts Academy food truck on Texas High School's campus. (Submitted photo)
The new Culinary Arts Academy food truck on Texas High School's campus. (Submitted photo)

TEXARKANA, Texas -- The Texas High School Culinary Arts Academy is providing a service through its new food truck that the program's instructor says is unprecedented in the region.

The academy held a ribbon-cutting with the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce last week for the new, $140,000 food truck, which was purchased from Trailer King Builders in Houston.

"What we're doing here is unmatched," said Cory House, who's in his eighth year as the Culinary Arts Academy executive chef at THS.

And this is no hyperbole.

House says Texas High is the only culinary arts program in Northeast Texas, including colleges, operating a food truck or a concession trailer.


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"We're also the only brand new, purpose-built food truck in Texarkana," he said. "Most everybody else is either a concession trailer or a repurposed UPS box truck or something of that nature. There's nobody else in our region that can provide these services for the students of the Four States area."

House said the food truck idea has been a dream of his ever since he started at THS. But he first had to worry about getting the program built.

"I was hired eight years ago really to get the program going. And over the course of that eight years, we've taken what was one culinary class and we've expanded it into a four-year culinary program," he said.

About 150 students are enrolled in Texas High's culinary arts courses today. According to House, the program is at maximum capacity, with even more students wanting to get in.

These students will take turns working in the food truck to get valuable food service experience.

House, who is also a dual credit instructor for Texarkana College, said his main goal is to have his students leave high school workforce-ready or ready to run a business for themselves in the real world.

"We want our students to be prepared for the real world when they leave here, whether it's as a student, a successful employee or a successful business owner," House said. "We do things a little bit faster-paced here, with a little bit more dedication and a little bit more hard work."

The food truck menu will change each week, but one of the signature items will be the Tiger Claw. The Tiger Claw is a pretzel roll with jalapeno cheddar sausage that is wrapped in bacon and deep fried, topped with guacamole, fresh french fried onions, queso fresco, tajin and chipotle mayo.

The truck is designed to be able to produce an array of different food items, House said.

"We are completely open," he said. "If someone has an event coming up and they want to reach out, I'll get the details and we can see if we can make it work. I'm 100% about student experiences and student opportunities."

Last school year, the Culinary Arts Academy catered 52 community events. This year, House hopes to exceed that number and already plans to have students use the food truck for Taste of Texarkana and National Night Out.

"The sky's the limit," House said.

(For more information, search Texas High Culinary Arts Academy on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.)

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