Brightline, the only provider of modern, eco-friendly, intercity rail in America, in partnership with Miami Dade College (MDC) and the Neighbors & Neighbors Association (NANA), have announced the winners of its first food truck enterprise program: Tywanda DuPont, Clarence Davis, and Nancy Guerrier. In September 2021, Miami Dade College and NANA launched a semester-long program that offered minority business owners in underserved communities the opportunity to compete to purchase or lease a food truck, complete with start-up funding. The 14-week initiative prepared 17 competing participants on how to open and operate a food truck business.
To celebrate the completion of this program, the winners unveiled their food truck concepts during a Taste & See on November 15 at the Brightline’s MiamiCentral station, where their food trucks will be stationed on a weekly basis, from Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event provided each chef with an opportunity to highlight the inspiration behind their food truck concepts and experience of the program. In addition to Brightline’s donation of free parking spaces for the food trucks at the MiamiCentral train station, NANA has provided inventory and licenses for the award recipients.
“Brightline is committed to supporting our local communities, like Historic Overtown, through advancement opportunities for entrepreneurs who live and work here,” said Patrick Goddard, president of Brightline. “We are excited to taste the concepts created by these budding local culinary stars and cheer their future success.”
The three winner’s culinary concepts are: Ty’s Hometown Café & Bistro Food Truck, 13 Pirates Eat, ZOEMANGetItandGo.
- Ty’s Hometown Café & Bistro Food Truck, created by Tywanda DuPont, is a decadent brunch concept featuring Tywanda’s signature dishes that combine the flavors of her Caribbean and Southern roots. A self-taught chef and Overtown resident, Tywanda started her culinary career as a private chef with a highly sought-after catering service. Tywanda created Ty’s Hometown Café & Bistro, a Miami catering company, to provide quality, authentic, and flavorful food to her community in a convenient and affordable way, enhancing the quality of her customers’ lives while bringing them joy through food. Featured dishes include Tywanda’s signature strawberry mascarpone French toast.
- 13 Pirates Eat created by Clarence Davis combines two of the chef’s greatest passions: food and motorcycles. Clarence’s food truck will cater to motorcycle enthusiasts in Miami by providing them with an appealing destination to ride to, park their bikes and enjoy delicious food in the great outdoors. Clarence’s menu will fill a gap in the Miami food truck industry by featuring soft-shell crab, seafood and other exotic dishes. His goal is to ensure a welcoming atmosphere of futurism while serving unique flavors through a careful selection of modernized exotic meals.
- ZOEMANGetItandGo, by Nancy Guerrier, features eclectic Haitian-American cuisine combined with excellent customer service. The menu features sandwiches, main courses, soups, pastries and coffees, boasting mouthwatering Creole spices. An Overtown resident, Nancy inherited her love of cooking from her father who for many years has been preparing Creole cuisine for the Haitian-American community in Miami. Nancy’s concept is inspired by her vision to change the demographics of the food industry in her community without compromising flavorful Haitian dishes.
“As part of MDC’s ongoing commitment to serve our community, we are pleased to provide training to residents in underserved areas to become small business owners,” said Shelly Fano, chairperson of the Miami Culinary Institute, part of Miami Dade College. “Along with the great food they will offer, these entrepreneurs also have the potential to bring jobs to their communities.”
“On behalf of Neighbors and Neighbors Association, we would like to congratulate the three food truck owners,” said Leroy Jones, Executive Director of NANA. “We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Miami- Dade County, City of Miami and everyone who has been involved with this very special project from the beginning to now.”
Participants were judged by a panel of industry experts who selected the winners based on a business plan detailing the cuisine, menu, marketing strategy, and designs for the truck, as well as a final culinary demonstration. Judges included industry professionals from Brightline, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Citizens and Florida’s Lodging and Restaurant Association, as well as top local chefs, including Tristen Epps of Red Rooster Overtown and Andrew Platt of Grove Bay Hospitality Group.
Throughout the course of the program, participants took lessons in food safety and sanitation, business operations, marketing, restaurant service, kitchen skills, entrepreneurship and took industry-recognized exams offered through the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute.
The Food Truck Enterprise Program is funded by Miami-Dade County. Participants must live in eligible zip codes, and first priority was given to residents of 33136. Second priority was given to residents of 33127, 33142,33147 and 33150. These zip codes represent District 3 in Miami-Dade County.