How long does it take to prepare a five-dollar-foot long? Less than 48 seconds, it turns out.
Nitasha Truss, 24, manager of two Tucson Subway locations, was awarded first place in the annual Subway "Sub Jammer" competition and named the fastest Subway artist in the world.
In order to qualify for the international competition, she finished first place in the "Sub Jammer" state competition in Phoenix on June 13.
On July 28 she joined 140 sandwich artists from around the world at the brand's annual convention held in Nashville.
Truss had to make a foot-long turkey (eight meat slices) sandwich on white bread with four (rotated) pieces of American cheese, 1.5 ounces of lettuce, six tomato slices, six slices of cucumber, six pickles, six green pepper slices, 12 pieces of olives, half an ounce of onion, three passes of (olive) oil, salt and pepper, wrap it and bag it with two napkins.
Her raw time was 43 seconds, but the judges added three seconds because she committed one error. She was judged on speed, sandwich appearance, ingredient distribution and accuracy. Her official time was recorded at 47.64 seconds.
"My turkey tore immediately and I was nervous," Truss said. "I didn't think I even made it in the top 10."
This wasn't her first time at the competition. Her first appearance was in 2011, and she didn't place at all. Last year she was seventh, and she plans on going back and doing it all over again next year.
Truss practiced daily while her co-workers timed her with their smartphones.
She worked for 5 1/2 years at the Rita Ranch location, 940 E. Valencia. "The most (sandwiches) we had to prepare was 120 in an hour," she says.
She worked with the same five employees for five years until May, when she began managing two stores, one on South Palo Verde Road and one on East Golf Links Road.
Truss started in the sandwich-making business at Quiznos after graduating from Cienega High School in 2006. She also worked at Blockbuster, taking on the two-job workload to pay her Pima Community College tuition and move into her own apartment.
"She is very driven and has a smile of gold. 'Tasha' is one of the happiest people I have ever met," said 14-year Subway employee and area director Nicholas Edgar. "Wherever she goes after this, she will be the best at it."
Truss, who works 50-plus hours a week, doesn't plan on making sandwiches forever.
She's determined to use her bachelor's degree in business and get a higher-paying job or go to law school.
"I want to wear suits to work. I'm tired of wearing a uniform," she said.
Contact reporter Henry Barajas at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4203. Follow him on Twitter @HenryBarajas.