L&T Catering to return to Moorpark College in the Fall


L&T Catering food truck next to the ASMC Bluesday Booth at the Moorpark College on April 5, 2022. The ASMC booth gave tickets to students who were wearing blue so they could have a free meal from the food truck. Photo credit: David Chavez

By David Chavez

When the pandemic first started, all colleges across the country had to suspend their in-person teaching and switch to online classes for the remainder of the spring semester. The switch to online classes heavily impacted businesses that were on campus, including food trucks.

The in-person suspension began on March 16, 2020, and had students and faculty no longer attending in-person courses. Food trucks that worked on these campuses were unable to work and earn money from college campuses.

The general manager of L&T Catering, Peter Tshing had to stop business at Moorpark College and other colleges across the county.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tshing was unable to continue his catering business for 14 months. Tshing even had to return two of his food trucks as business became scarce due to quarantine.

“The pandemic was quite an experience because we were not ready just like everybody else in any of the industry,” said Tshing. “Food businesses got hit the hardest and caterers even harder because we couldn’t do any delivery or to go [orders].”

L&T Catering started in 1973 and is a family-owned catering business that serves food through its food trucks around Ventura County. They serve parties, events, college campuses and do pickup and delivery orders.

Before the pandemic, Tshing had four trucks that worked at all the colleges in the VCCCD.

“I started up in Ventura College and in 2015 I expanded because of just the good fortune that I had and the good friends that I met and the good students that supported me,” Tshing said.

Student Activities Specialist Kristen Robinson enjoyed working with Tshing due to the variety of food that his business has to offer along with a fair price point.

“We love working with Peter because he’s very flexible and accommodating to whatever menu items or things that we want to offer, even if it’s something that he doesn’t normally offer on his menu,” Robinson said.

Peter Tshing shows different options of food, snacks and drinks that the L&T Catering food truck has to offer at Moorpark College on April 5, 2022.
Peter Tshing shows different options of food, snacks and drinks that the L&T Catering food truck has to offer at Moorpark College on April 5, 2022. Photo credit: David Chavez

Due to being unable to continue his catering business, Tshing had to resort to other jobs such as driving for Amazon Flex and Uber Eats. Unfortunately, these jobs didn’t provide enough pay compared to his catering business.

To make matters worse, Tshing had to wait months to receive his second stimulus check in the middle of the pandemic.

“I applied in January after Joe Biden got inaugurated… and I didn’t get a response at all until Aug. 11,” Tshing said. “Just imagine during that time, we almost just closed shop forever.”

Other catering businesses that Tshing was neighbors with had to close down and sell their shops due to the pandemic and change up their business model.

“The people that were parked next to me for over 20 years, they closed up, sold their trucks and they just went couriers instead,” Tshing said.

With the pandemic still being present, Tshing returned to the catering business with a much smaller staff of six people compared to the 23 employees he had prior to the pandemic.

“We used to have 23 of us and now we only have six and it’s not just because they had to move on, because they had to survive and we didn’t have work,” Tshing said. “What happened is that people now don’t seem like they want to come back to work and that is for all industries, not only for us.”

Peter Tshing talks to students about the options that the L&T Catering food truck has to offer on April 5, 2022.
Peter Tshing talks to students about the options that the L&T Catering food truck has to offer on April 5, 2022. Photo credit: David Chavez

Moorpark College Police Cadet, Matthew Burciaga misses Tshing and the food that his food truck offered.

“He had really good food,” Burciaga said. “Just kind of miss him being here, he’s really friendly, so I miss interacting with him.”

Tshing has been a part of Moorpark College for many years before the pandemic as many students would order from his food truck and interact with him while waiting for their food.

“The college understands that he plays a much bigger role than just serving food to our students,” Robinson said. “He probably knows more students by name and face than a lot of the full-time employees at the institution do.”

One of Tshing’s goals when serving food to students at community colleges is to create affordable food for students who didn’t have a lot of money due to the costs of attending college.

“We don’t want people to be neglected of an education because they can’t afford it,” Tshing said. “We want to survive and make money, but we still want it to be affordable.”

Tshing announced on Tuesday, April 5 during the first in-person “Bluesday” event since the pandemic that he will return and serve the Moorpark College campus in the upcoming fall 2022 semester.

“Excited to be back, [it’s a] beautiful campus,” Tshing said. “We’re for sure coming back August.”

Currently, Tshing and his catering business are serving at Haas Automation from Monday to Friday and the Ventura College from Monday to Thursday. Tshing has also served events across the county for other businesses and schools.

“We’re going to continue on where we left off which is to be on campus and to service school and students,” Tshing said. “We just want to keep on going and doing the same thing that we did one step at a time.”

To know more about L&T Catering, follow their Instagram or visit their website.