Secret Recipe at Dignity Food Trucks

Dignity Food Trucks are serving up opportunities for a better life

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Toni Moore, kitchen manager for The Source, enjoys sharing her culinary talent and keeping her customers happy. Photo by Kim Bottalico
Toni Moore, kitchen manager for The Source, enjoys sharing her culinary talent and keeping her customers happy. Photo by Kim Bottalico

For Toni Moore, cooking brings her back to memories of family. For Russell Walker, cooking has been part of dramatic changes in his life. For you, both Moore and Walker are part of the story behind the food trucks that you have likely seen at a variety of Vero Beach locations.

Featuring an award-winning barbecue sauce and serving an imaginative pineapple bowl, Dignity Food Trucks are part of a series of programs from The Source that aim to blend philanthropy and culinary arts, as Walker’s story shows. 

“When I came here, I was homeless,” he says. “They told me about the cooking program. It was hard, but I stayed with it. They taught me how to properly sanitize and handle food, and they taught me about seasonings.” Today, Walker is no longer homeless, and he is running one of the food trucks. 

Moore is the kitchen manager, and she oversees the culinary program, which, she explains, offers education and experience in restaurant-style service, catering, and food trucks, in addition to providing certification that can give graduates an advantage when it comes to finding jobs. 

“This is my second career,” Moore says. She never expected to go into the culinary field, although she learned cooking skills as a child. “At an early age, I heard my grandmother say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach—so I followed her into the kitchen,” she laughs. “My grandmother and my mom did everything from scratch.” 

Growing up in Fort Pierce and then attending college in North Carolina, Moore pursued a computer science career path, which took her far from the kitchen—until she decided to “try something different” and exchanged coding for cooking. 

Dignity Food Trucks use a secret-recipe barbecue sauce called “Mo’s.” It is named in memory of Maureen Archer, a beloved associate who passed away in 2022. Mo’s Sauce has won first-place honors at competitions in Vero Beach and on the Space Coast. 

“It’s got a little kick, but not too much,” Moore says. “It’s a little sweet and a little sour.” It enhances the pineapple bowls, which are half-pineapples filled with yellow rice along with either shrimp or chicken.  

As kitchen manager, does Moore herself have a favorite recipe? “My favorite is whatever you like,” she says, “because if the customer is happy, I’m happy.” 

Shrimp Cocktail. Photo by Kim Bottalico
Shrimp Cocktail. Photo by Kim Bottalico

Appetizer: Shrimp Cocktail

The flavorful cocktail sauce provides a vibrant combination of horseradish, citrus, and spice.

Serves 4

  • 24 large shrimp (21–25 count per pound, raw, thawed, deveined, and easy to peel) 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Half a lemon (optional)
  • 8–10 peppercorns (optional)
  • Handful fresh parsley (optional)
  • Cocktail sauce

In a large saucepan, add water until 3/4 full. Add salt. 

If using lemon, squeeze the juice into the pot and then add the peel and flesh. Add peppercorns and parsley if using. 

Bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Remove from heat. When water stops boiling, add the shrimp and stir. Cover and let sit 4–5 minutes, until shrimp are opaque and pink. 

Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath: in a large bowl, put 2 cups of ice cubes and fill halfway with cold water. When shrimp are cooked, drain off the hot liquid and transfer shrimp (but not the aromatics) to the ice bath. Let sit for a few minutes to fully cool off before draining. Peel shrimp but leave the tails on. 

Divide cocktail sauce among 4 small bowls, wine glasses, or martini glasses. Hang shrimp from the rims. Serve immediately.

Cocktail Sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp. horseradish
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. hot sauce, such as Tabasco (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.

Orange Glazed Chicken. Photo by Kim Bottalico
Orange Glazed Chicken. Photo by Kim Bottalico

Entrée: Orange Glazed Chicken

Contrasting yet complementary flavors, a distinctive blend of spices, and a honey glaze give this dish interest and complexity.

Serves 2

  • 2 half chicken breasts or thighs, bone-in and skin-on
  • 3 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Orange honey glaze
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped fine, for garnish
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, for garnish

Orange Honey Glaze

  • 3/4 cup honey
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Reserve half to serve with the chicken. Use the rest to baste while the chicken cooks.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Line a half sheet pan with aluminum foil. Place the chicken breasts bone-side down on the pan. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Brush with a little orange honey glaze. Insert a digital thermometer so you can check the internal temperature. 

Cook for 30 minutes, then continue to baste with orange honey glaze every 10 minutes until the chicken is done. Allow chicken to rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Sprinkle with fresh rosemary and thyme and serve with the reserved orange honey glaze.

Strawberry Parfait. Photo by Kim Bottalico
Strawberry Parfait. Photo by Kim Bottalico

Dessert: Strawberry Parfait

A refreshing and healthful dessert featuring Greek yogurt, honey, and fresh strawberries.  

Serves 2

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (full fat)
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup granola, any kind

Chop strawberries into small pieces. 

Using a whisk, thoroughly mix the yogurt and honey. 

In a small glass cup or jar, assemble each parfait using 1/4 cup of each ingredient at a time. Layer in this order: yogurt, granola, and strawberries. Repeat until filled to the top. 

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