The cafeteria fishbowl kitchen at New Brunswick Community College in Moncton was crowded Monday, as some students baked, fried and stuffed different food items, while others waited in line for something dripping with gravy or coated in sugar.
"I've tried it all," said instructor Jason Blonde of the hospitality department, standing at the back of the kitchen. "It is all fantastic."
Starting at 11:30 a.m., day one of the Food Truck Battle drew a long line of students that trailed out of the kitchen and down the hallway beside it.
Describing the turnout as "fantastic," the hotel and restaurant management instructor said. "We're very excited."
The event, which runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. daily, is part of a business ventures course that consists of first-year hotel and restaurant management students and their culinary arts counterparts.
Forming four teams, these students have worked since January toward running their businesses.
On Monday, the culinary arts students prepared the food, while their team members in hotel and restaurant management worked front of house.
One team, named Pit Stop, sold $6 wraps and pitas, while a competitor, Mexi Canadian Nachos served — as its name suggests — plates of nachos, starting at $7, with a choice of toppings.
"We were thinking something that we could do high volume and it could be quick and efficient, so we tossed around the idea of pitas and nachos, and nachos is what we decided on," said Devon Brittain, of Mexi Canadian Nachos.
Meanwhile, a third team, the Gravy Boat, prepared make-your-own poutines for $7. Their menu included a dessert poutine — yes, really — with apple slices and caramel sauce.
Finally, Grilligan's Island offered a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches ($4), soups ($4) and BeaverTail-like pastries ($4), as well as dollar fruit punch — and for the indecisive, or hungry, a $10-combination meal.
Competing for the highest profit, the teams will give their earnings to the on-campus student food bank after they cover their costs.
The teams will wrap up this project in the next couple of weeks, preparing their financials and giving debrief presentations.
At around 1 p.m., the nacho company's Brittain described day one as "pretty good" and "a little bit underwhelming."
The first-year hotel and restaurant management student said that, despite hopes to serve 50 to 60 students, Mexi Canadian Nachos had only sold about 30 plates of nachos.
"But maybe the rest of the week will be a little bit better."