By Jana Julian | Staff Writer

Kapi’olani Community College plans to launch its food truck opening on Monday.

Under the guidance of Chef Lee Shinsato, students from KCC’s Culinary program will be running a lunch truck on campus Mondays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. near the Kopiko building in parking lot A.

“The intent was to provide another venue for the students to get lunch,” said John Mizokawa, operations manager for the Culinary department.

While KCC’s Culinary department will run the lunch truck, it won’t be serving the same menu that will be available at Ohiʻa Cafeteria.

With the food truck being sponsored by both Walmart and Kaiser Permanente as part of a health initiative, light food options such as grilled lean meats, fish, wraps and salads will make-up the entire menu. The lunch truck is also meant to be self-sustaining, so the culinary program is responsible for all means of production, including staffing the truck.

“With most of the staff in the kitchen being students or apprentices,” said Chef Shinsato, “the food truck will be operated by an apprentice from the kitchen’s staff and a student from the Go Cook! Hawaiʻi program, which is a 10-week fast-tracked training program.”

Being a new addition to KCC’s culinary options, the lunch truck will be rotating menus and have daily specials; students are also encouraged to suggest any recipes or dishes that fit the profile of the menu. Menu options can be expected to cost around $9, and the lunch truck will offer recyclable and compostable food containers and utensils keeping in sync with KCC’s sustainability practices.

Some of the biodiesel that isn’t currently being used is stored near the cafeteria. (Photo by Jana Julian)

For over two years, students from the Culinary and Chemistry departments, with the Economics department taking part this past spring, have been working towards a more sustainable KCC. Initially, the project began with the Culinary department making its own biodiesel from waste oil in the kitchen. Afterwards, students from the Chemistry department, under the guidance of Dr. Kathy Ogata, began collaborating with the Culinary students for the production of biodiesel.

Chemistry students received cooking oil from KCC’s cafeteria and began converting it into biodiesel which the Culinary program used to fuel a transportation cart. After the project had been running for a few semesters, the Economics department received funding to join the project and conduct the cost analysis for general operations of hospitality businesses.

Last semester during an interview for International Women’s Day, Dr. Jaclyn Lindo mentioned the food truck as part of KCC’s Green Initiative.

“Our Culinary department has been forward-thinking for decades now, very much ahead of their industry, “said Lindo, who works in the Economics department. “They use the biodiesel there for [which] they have a golf cart they use to transport things back and forth with. ”

The Culinary department uses biodiesel for powering the hydroponics system in the garden and when transporting items from the garden to the kitchen. Initially, the new lunch truck was supposed to run using biodiesel, but due to noise issues from the diesel generator, the Culinary department has opted for a gas generator.