MIAMI, FL – 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.
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Brightline is the only provider of modern, eco-friendly, intercity rail in America. The company currently serves Miami, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach with its Orlando station beginning service in 2023. Brightline was recognized by Fast Company as one of the Most Innovative Companies in travel, offering a guest-first experience designed to reinvent train travel and take cars off the road. Brightline plans to bring its award-winning service to additional city pairs and congested corridors across the country that are too close to fly and too long to drive, with immediate plans to connect Las Vegas to Southern California. For more information, visit www.gobrightline.com and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
MiamiCentral is Miami’s business, leisure, and transportation hub. Spanning over six downtown city blocks, MiamiCentral features 816 luxury rental residences, 130,000 square feet of dynamic retail and entertainment space and is the flagship station for the Brightline train. MiamiCentral is a unique live-work-play destination with unrivaled transportation options, including connectivity to Brightline, Metrorail, Metromover and Tri-Rail. With over 10 million riders projected to commute through each year, MiamiCentral is transforming South Florida’s urban landscape.
About Miami Dade College
Miami Dade College is the most diverse institution in the nation. There are 167 nations and 63 languages represented in its student body. The college’s eight campuses and outreach centers offer more than 300 distinct degree pathways including associate and baccalaureate degrees, career certificates and apprenticeships. Baccalaureate degree offerings include biological sciences, engineering, data analytics, information systems technology, education, public safety, supervision and management, nursing, physician assistant studies, film and others. MDC is the recipient of many top national awards including the Aspen Prize. As Democracy’s College, MDC changes lives through accessible, high quality-teaching and learning experiences. It is the home of the Miami Culinary Institute, the Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex, the Miami Fashion Institute, the Eig-Watson School of Aviation, The Idea Center, the Cybersecurity Center of the Americas, the Cloud Computing Center, the Center for Learning, Innovation and Simulation, the School for Advanced Studies, and the New World School of the Arts, to name a few of its most innovative programs. MDC has been named among the nation’s “Great Colleges to Work For” since the program’s inception. The College embraces its responsibility to serve as an economic, cultural, and civic leader for the advancement of our diverse global community. Its alumni and employees contribute more than $3 billion annually to the local economy, and MDC graduates occupy top leadership positions in every major industry. MDC is renowned for its rich cultural programming. It is the home of the Miami Book Fair, Miami Film Festival, the National Historic Landmark Miami Freedom Tower, the Tower Theater, Dyer Building, Koubek Center Mansion and Gardens, Live Arts Miami at MDC, the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives, the Museum of Art and Design, a sculpture park and a large campus art gallery and theater system. MDC has admitted more than 2.5 million students and counting, since it opened its doors in 1960. Approximately 120,000 students are currently enrolled. For more information, visit www.mdc.edu.