At Northwestern Michigan College’s Culinary Institute in Traverse City students are learning the art and technique of preparing food.
These future chef’s also get a taste of what it’s like to work all aspects of restauranting.
“Out here they are learning a lot about customer service, they are learning about timing and the way to get food to customers, also the proper technique to pour wine,” explains instructor Patty Hunta.
So the cooks need to experience being waiters, bussers, bartenders, hosts and managers. They get it all at Lobdell’s teaching restaurant.
They are there because of a passion for the food, but to be well-rounded they need to experience real life.
Each day starts with prep of the food and the dining room, a team meeting is held to discuss specials and special groups coming in. Every class is a diverse group.
“We have a little bit of everything. In this class we have a retired OB/GYN who is looking at a second career. We have students who are one or two years out of high school,” says Patty.
They learn to be a restaurant team. It may be a classroom, but it’s still a million dollar view. And yes, there are the occasional rookie trips or drops, but that’s why this is a great opportunity.
Customers are the general public, but they understand what’s going on and they join in.
“So, they make sure to share comments about things they see that students could do to improve, make suggestions, but they understand we are a teaching restaurant,” says Patty.
The restaurant is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays for lunch through May 2 and reservations are recommended.