Restaurant Creation: Students cook up their own step-by-step recipes

Most CF students spend their lunch shifts in the cafeteria or enjoying lunch releases. Certain weeks of the year, however, Gayle Bruene’s fourth hour food service students get to take their class … and sometimes eat too. Students taking the class get the hands on, real-world experience of running a fourth hour restaurant and delivering the food to some students and staff who eat C shift lunch.

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Before the restaurants take place, weeks of preparation occur. Senior and food enthusiast Cassie McCurdy spent quality time with her group planning a restaurant on their scheduled week. “We’ve been planning for it a week or two. We send this week out tomorrow,” McCurdy said, “On Friday before we hand it out we give order sheets out to some people and we hand it out by Monday.”

Along with the real world experience and careful planning, mistakes do happen, and students get the chance to learn how to recover from mishaps. “If we don’t order what we need or if the person who types the recipe doesn’t type it right, we have to accommodate for that, so we don’t make that mistake the next time,” senior Nique Tredwell said.

McCurdy agreed that unexpected mistakes happen on occasion. “It’s things you can’t expect, like things go wrong that you can’t help. Sometimes your preparedness isn’t at the level that you thought it was,” McCurdy said.

Bruene is fond of the hands on experience the restaurants give the students. “It gives them real life experience; they’re running their own mini-restaurant,” Bruene said.

The profits from the restaurants go toward ingredients for the next restaurant cycle. “It gets paid for out of our profits, but if you are in Foods I or Foods II, then we’re allotted so much per student, and that’s what we’re given to live within our budget, and it usually works out pretty good. We’re not having steak and lobster dinner. We have to be frugal,” Bruene said.

Students often get creative with the recipes that they are given. “For all our recipes, anything we’ve gotten, I’ve changed. I add spices or add some cheese,” McCurdy said.

For McCurdy, cooking has been a lifelong passion. “I’ve been interested forever. Ever since I was little I’ve made cookies with my grandma, cake at home, stuff like that,” McCurdy said. Doing the restaurant labs gives students like McCurdy the chance to see what it’s like to use their passions in a career situation. “It’s really fun. It’s an exciting thing. It’s a good experience. You don’t always get the experience of being in charge and stuff, so it’s different,” McCurdy said. The perks of the experience are, of course, as equally rewarding as the leftovers. “The restaurant is going to be tomorrow, and then Friday we’ll have extra food and we’ll eat it. All the extra food that we didn’t use to make the recipes we can make whatever we want. Sometimes we’ll make macaroni. Sometimes we make sandwiches,” McCurdy said.

Foods students will be doing a final restaurant the week of May 13.

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