New food truck to focus on balance

Artist Jonny Waters, of Lyttelton, finishes work on the University of Otago department of human...
Artist Jonny Waters, of Lyttelton, finishes work on the University of Otago department of human nutrition’s new food truck, as head of department Lisa Houghton looks on. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
Colourful cartoon fruits and vegetables painted by a Lyttelton artist will be bringing a message of healthy eating to Dunedin when a new food truck hits the streets in 2022.

The brainchild of the University of Otago’s department of human nutrition, the eye-catching truck will allow students to bring the fruits of their studies to the hungry public.

Head of department Prof Lisa Houghton said in past years, students had taken part in a food service paper that had them create a fake food truck business, and acquiring a real truck was the logical next step.

The paper covered aspects such as fitting out a truck for food service, creating food safety plans, and developing and delivering a recipe.

"We just thought we’re trying to teach the students some kind of real life application of some of the knowledge, we thought a food truck would be great to get."

The truck would also help the department with its community outreach efforts.

It would be sent to community hubs and schools to promote healthy eating habits while dispensing delicious foodstuffs through its windows.

It was not to be all tofu and kale either, with a balanced diet the focus.

"I’m sure there will be some very tasty, high fat foods going across the counter, but as long as it’s balanced by something healthy we’re pretty good with that."

A big part of putting forward an appealing proposition for food truck patrons was decorating it in an appealing manner.

"We were just kind of humming and hawing about what to do with this big white truck, and because I’m head of department I get the power to decide so I went with graffiti."

She approached Lyttelton artist Jonny Waters to see if he would be interested. He jumped at the chance, and had free rein with the design.

"I though it was a bit of a no-brainer really, doing a whole bunch of healthy fruit and vegetables and stuff like that and making them into funny characters," Mr Waters said.

"One of the main cool things about this sort design is that it’s quite appealing to kids.

The food truck is the latest of Mr Waters’ works that can be seen across Dunedin.

They include murals on the Burger Plant restaurant, the Lead Balloon cafe and the Legendairy flat in Duke St.

Painting the truck was a three-day process.

The completed product has a fan in Prof Houghton.

"I love it, I couldn’t stop smiling."

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