CLEVELAND -- In the kitchen of the Jane Addams Culinary Business Career Center, you'll find Jonathan Gardner in his happy place.
The recent graduate's passion for cooking oozes out of him as he cooks his latest meal. It's the joy his creations stir in others that fuels his love for the kitchen.
"For me and for any chef is the wonder bite. Once you see that it’s like yes, you succeeded at your job."
It's a passion that been ignited in him at Jane Addams.
His teacher Michael Szalkowski has been teaching at the center for the past 19 years.
"Never ever did I think that I would end up back in high school," admits Szalkowski.
Even though it wasn't his original plan, he's been using his culinary skills to inspire students.
Their newest kitchen? An old school bus converted into a full-scale kitchen on wheels they call the Executive Grille On the Go.
The crazy idea to create a school bus food truck came as a shock to students in the program.
“I was like a food bus? You mean food truck?" said Gardner. "They pulled it up to the school and I was like oh really?"
A surprise to students and the customers they serve.
“Their reaction is amazing, like I can't believe a teenager did this!" said Szalkowski.
This program hasn't just opened oven doors for Jonathan, but has opened doors of opportunity. The recent graduate was valedictorian of his class and earned three scholarships to attend the Culinary Institute of America.
The goal of the Executive Grille On the Go is to serve good food with excellent customer service to the public. But their mission to offer more to their students has already been achieved.
"Yeah we’re here," Gardner said. "We’re out here. We’re students (we) have passion and we’re making good food.”