Powerhouse Kitchen, created for San Jose University, is the world’s largest mobile kitchen. Designed for both mass catering and show cooking, the monstrous food truck features an integral stage and an AV system built around a huge pop-up LED screen constructed from ADJ’s AV4IP panels.
If you want a huge bespoke food truck, there’s only one place to go, and that’s Texas-based Cruising Kitchens. Established for over eight years, the company has grown to become the world’s largest mobile business fabricator. Starting out creating bespoke food trucks of all sizes for both well-established brands and exciting start-ups, the company has branched out to undertake a variety of more unusual projects including mobile offices, media centers, bars and even a nightclub. With a skilled team of designers, fabricators, welders, carpenters, upholsterers, plumbers and AV technicians, Cruising Kitchens can carry out every aspect of even the most complicated builds in-house, which made them the obvious choice for San Jose University’s new project.
The university’s catering department, Spartan Eats, wanted a new food truck and entertainment center that could not only be used to enhance the San Jose Spartans tailgate experience during the football season at their CEFCU Stadium but also for community engagement events both on and off campus. Out of a sense of good natured rivalry, they also wanted their new mobile kitchen to be the biggest in the world, taking that crown from Florida State University, whose truck (also created by Cruising Kitchens) previously held the record.
Taking on the challenge, Cruising Kitchens fabricated an enormous custom-built creation featuring a 40’ long modified and reinforced shipping container welded to a 70' extendable flatbed trailer. Wrapped completely in custom graphics, the impressive truck features a large internal commercial kitchen, suitable for the preparation of a wide variety of cuisine, as well as an in-built stage which can be used for cooking competitions and demonstrations.
The 12’ stage folds out from the side of the truck, as does a 10’ awning, while two islands – fitted with castors – can be wheeled out onto the stage to provide a demonstration workspace. Two moving head cameras are mounted inside the truck to show the cook line in action, while additional cameras on the mobile islands can be used for close-ups of on-stage demonstrations. Footage from these cameras – as well as live pre-game coverage at tailgates – can be displayed on the in-built ‘jumbotron’ screen on the roof. To create this vital component of the setup, Cruising Kitchens selected ADJ’s AV4IP LED video panels.
“We had used a competitor’s product on a couple of other trucks with built-in jumbotrons,” explains Joshua Davies, Cruising Kitchens’ Chief Brand Officer & A/V Specialist, “but there was a problem with availability and they wouldn’t be able to deliver this order for six months. So, obviously, I had to do my research and find an alternative product to use for this project and that’s when I discovered ADJ. I got in touch and was linked up with Chase Martin at Aldridge Marketing [ADJ’s rep firm in Texas] who listened to our needs and then told me about the AV4IP, which turned out to be a better pixel pitch and almost twice the brightness than what we were using before, so that worked out really well.”
The AV4IP is a high resolution video panel featuring RGB SMD1921 LEDs with a pixel pitch of 4.81mm. Offering 4000NITS of brightness and two LED modules per panel for easy serviceability, each panel contains 104 x 104 LEDs, which is equivalent to 43,264/m2. The panel has a wide viewing angle of 140-degrees as well as an IP65-rated front and IP54-rated back, making it ideal for outdoor use.
For Powerhouse Kitchen, the Cruising Kitchens team fabricated a custom frame for 40 AV4IP panels to create a 16’ wide screen. This was mounted to the roof of the container on a hinged bracket with pneumatic lifting system that allows it to fold flat to the container in transit and then quickly foldout for viewing with the touch of a button. To run the panels, Joshua chose the 1U rack mountable Novastar VS4Xs, which offers easy configuration, scaling and source selection for ADJ AV Series video screens.
“I really loved how well the AV4IP panels and the Novastar VX4s worked together. On the past jumbotrons we’ve done it has taken a long time set up the video source to fit the screen, but this time it was really simple. A few button clicks on the Novastar and everything was calibrated and ready to go.”
The Powerhouse Kitchen made its debut at a Spartans football game tailgate when the team beat the Northern Colorado Bears in their first game of the new season at the end of August. Taking pride of place in the ‘Spartan Village Fan Zone’, the screen displayed pre-game broadcasting from ESPN’s College GameDay, while the kitchen served up tasty treats for hungry fans. Really adding to the pre-game atmosphere, every aspect of this complex project came together to work perfectly on its first major outing and the team at Spartan Eats are thrilled to be operating the world’s largest mobile kitchen. However, as a new customer, we were keen to hear about Cruising Kitchens’ experience with ADJ:
“Chase and also Mike Turner [ADJ’s Regional Sales Manager for the area] have been great to work with; as soon we we’ve needed something they’ve got right on it and got us what we needed,” enthuses Joshua. “So I’ve had a great overall experience, from customer service to the product itself, and we definitely look forward to using ADJ again on future projects.”
If you live in California and can get to a Spartans game you’ll have the opportunity to witness the Powerhouse Kitchen for yourself. If not, you might be able to catch a glimpse of it being designed and fabricated in a new TV show, ‘Built For Business’, featuring the Cruising Kitchens team that is currently in production.
San Jose State University, CA
Fabricator & AV Installer
40 x ADJ AV4IP
1 x Novastar VX4s