LOS ANGELES, CA – In a downtown parking lot sits one of the most impressive things that Jamie Oliver, the chef-activist-TV personality, has brought to Los Angeles for his “Food Revolution” television show: a red-and-khaki-striped big rig tricked out as a traveling cooking school.
Even in food truck mad L.A., this behemoth, 70 feet long, stands out.
Demonstrations have been held on board for officials, potential donors and others. But last week, the first classes began for young people.
At lunchtime, 16 teenagers from the youth development program Inner City Struggle came to cook marinated chicken and chopped salad, which they rolled together in whole-wheat tortillas.
“No one has to eat anything they don’t want to eat, but we hope you will try it,” Elizabeth Fassberg, one of the teachers, said just after everyone washed their hands to start class. She also talked about knife safety and handling raw meat before the students moved to their cooking stations.
Four people can work at each of eight rolling stations, which have two cutting surfaces and two induction stovetops (which heat up by magnetic induction, to help prevent burns). Underneath there is storage for utensils and pots and pans. Custom placemats can cover the top so students can eat the fruits of their labors.
At four places along the sides of the truck are pop-out bays that make the interior even bigger — 15 feet across — with the push of a button. There are plasma screen TVs, four sinks, full-size double ovens, microwave ovens, two large refrigerators and dishwashers. The walls are covered in colorful pictures of fruits and vegetables and kitchen equipment.
Work stations can be configured in numerous ways, including being taken out on a lift (that also accommodates wheelchairs) for an outdoor demonstration or class. An inflatable stage can be set up off the back of the truck.
The rig is designed along the lines of a boat: When traveling, equipment is stowed in a specific layout, said Christopher Styler, a culinary consultant who’s getting the truck up and running for the nonprofit Jamie Oliver Food Foundation.
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