Teen chef phenom operating her own food truck: 'Cooking is my passion'

A Southwest Philly teenage chef, barely old enough to drive, is hitting the road, serving up some specialty food in the City of Brotherly Love.

"I started off cooking in the kitchen with my grandma, just watching her recipes," says Mayonna Joseph, the of CEO Tinga Finga Food Truck.

That was at the age of 13, but now three years later, Joseph has stopped watching and is now creating her own recipes for her catering business.

"My last event was a bridal shower, and I was cleaning up the kitchen and everybody kept asking me they were like, ‘How old are you?’ I’m like 16 and they were like, ‘Oh my God you’re 16, you’re doing this?’ They were like, ‘Keep going’," says Joseph.

Well, she is because, on top of being a high school student, with a catering business, she has a new role as the owner of Finga Tinga Food Truck.

Taking her delicious meals, on wheels, with her cousin alongside.

"I want to go far with this because cooking has always been my passion. I love to make people happy because food - it gets people really excited," says Joseph.

Her food definitely provides that happiness from salmon egg rolls, garlic parmesan wings, and her sliders.

Those are just a few of her signatures that she’ll debut at her Tinga Finga Food Truck grand opening this weekend in Southwest Philly.

"I’m still shocked myself after passing inspection. I feel like it hasn’t hit me yet. I think Saturday, once everybody is there and my business is really open to the public, it’s really going to hit me," says Joseph.

While Joseph is still trying to let it all sink in, she says it all starts with hard work and perseverance.

"Anybody my age who wants to start a brand and build it, I just want to tell them keep going, you have to keep going. Even if stuff gets really tough, you got to look at the bigger picture and your future down the line," says Joseph.

The Tinga Finga Food Truck will make its debut Saturday at 3 p.m. at Eastwick Park on Lindbergh Boulevard in Southwest Philly.

After her Southwest Philly debut, the young chef plans to serve at spots in South Philly and even Delaware.

Find more information about the Tinga Finfa menu and more on the Instagram page, here.