Shirley Ray, a long-term donor to Central Oregon Community College’s Cascade Culinary Institute, contacted Chef Thor Erickson in 2018. Ray had been a regular patron and contributor to CCI. She had come to the realization that her health was starting to go downhill and she decided to sit down with Chef Erickson.
She wanted to know what the culinary students would want to add to improve health circumstances. Erickson told her that students wanted a food truck. He did some research to find an estimate of the cost to get the truck ready and shared that estimate with Ray. Ray donated the amount to the COCC foundation for the sole purpose of getting a food truck for CCI.
After the foundation had the donation, Erickson interviewed students to find out what ideas they had for what the food truck would sell. He sent bids to several food truck building companies and figured out the appliances and amenities that were needed. Sadly, Shirley Ray, the generous donor of 20 plus years, did not live to see the food truck come to fruition. In January of 2018, Shirley Ray passed away at the age of 91, but her memory and legacy live on in the food truck named after her.
Now, the truck is complete. Shirley Ray will be seen on campus and around Bend. The truck will not only serve as a training and feeding tool, but also as an outside classroom space via a monitor that is mounted and weatherproofed. This monitor will also have digital menus, be used as a tool to give presentations, and even see inside the truck with the use movable cameras.
Coming spring 2020, Cascade Culinary Institute will also be offering a food truck class. It will be open to all second-year culinary, baking, and hospitality students.
Let The Broadside know if you have visited the food truck by sharing it on Instagram @broadsideonline or Twitter @cocc_broadside.
Mason Meyners/For The Broadside