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High school teacher hopes to open food truck for people with dietary restrictions


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ST. ANTHONY — A high school mathematics teacher understands that for people with dietary restrictions, finding certain foods can be a challenge. So he’s putting his chef’s hat on.

Ron Lagerstrom works at South Fremont High School and has been teaching for 20 years. He’s witnessed students give freely of their time, money and talents so he wants to give back to them and others by opening a food truck for people with dietary restrictions.

“I’ve seen the great desire in those students to do all they can to help others and make great sacrifices,” Lagerstrom said. “This has always had a great effect on me.”

Lagerstrom has launched a GoFundMe page to raise money that will pay for an Asian food truck for anyone with dietary issues. In addition to his students, his wife, family and friends who have to avoid specific foods are a big inspiration.

“(My wife) can’t have gluten and she tries to stay away from refined sugar and flour,” Lagerstrom said. “It’s very difficult to go out and find a meal other than a salad with very little added onto it that she could actually enjoy eating and not have blowback later on with the way she feels.”

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Garlic pepper pork with cabbage, spinach, cilantro and grape tomatoes over rice. | Courtesy Ron Lagerstrom’s GoFundMe

Growing up in Virginia, he said Thai food was popular because of the Laotian population. When he first tried Thai food as a teenager, he was convinced it was “the greatest food in the world.”

Lagerstrom served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Chicago and said several missionaries were from Laos. He had a Thailand companion and remembers Laotian and Thai food being cooked often.

“I decided right then and there that I had to learn how to do this more,” Lagerstrom recalls. “When I came back (home), I got a cookbook and I followed the recipes to a tee. Then I found I enjoyed them more when I changed them a little bit.”

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Egg roll in a bowl that can be made gluten free. | Courtesy Ron Lagerstrom’s GoFundMe

Lagerstrom wants to offer meals from areas all over Asia and hopes to eventually cook specialty foods that he’ll change periodically.

“I plan to offer meals that meet all dietary restrictions,” Lagerstrom said on GoFundMe. “(I) hope to get to know people with restrictions so that I can have specific meals added to the menu for them.”

Lagerstrom plans to travel with the food truck around eastern Idaho while working with his two children to earn funds that can help pay his wife’s college tuition.

His goal is to raise $35,000 and people who make a $50, $75 or $100 donation on GoFundMe can receive one, two or three seasoning packets to make an Indian dish specific to that person’s dietary restrictions.

Lagerstrom is aiming to have the food truck operating by May.

“I love when people are opened up to a new food and ethnic groups and when they discover more of the world,” Lagerstrom said. “(I want to) help other people experience the food that I love.”

Our attorneys tell us we need to put this disclaimer in stories involving fundraisers: does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.