Campus restaurant offers students hands-on training

Students from the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion cook and serve breakfast and lunch in the Kitchen Café, a nonprofit restaurant on the Downtown campus that sells meals to the community.

Nutrition majors Shannon Trun and Bettina Mielle prepare a sweet and sour pork stew for their class on the Downtown campus. (Photo by Murphy Bannerman)

The students involved with the café are part of a required lab class for nutrition and food service management majors.

Instructional kitchen coordinator and chef Kenneth Moody helps create the menu. Moody said he and the students try to focus on using locally grown organic produce.

“We try to focus on healthier cuisines and making a lot of foods from scratch,” Moody said. “We’re making our own mayonnaise, and we’re not buying high fructose corn syrup or junk off the shelves.”

Moody said the idea is to have students gain real life experience with handling and cooking food.

Nutrition graduate student and lab teacher’s assistant Emily Medved said the breakfast menu usually has omelets or pancakes, and the lunch menu contains burgers and wraps that are all healthy and made from scratch.

“We usually have a house special, (and) it’s usually the students’ creation,” Medved said. “They’ll come up with the special for the day and request to be a line cook so that they can make it and be in charge of making it.”

Medved said student-created specials have included grilled cheese sandwiches and eggplant Parmesan.

Each student is assigned a different restaurant duty for each lab. The rotating roles include being a manager, a line cook and a server.  Students are taught how to perform all of the jobs found in a restaurant.

Dietetics senior Kylie Pratt said she has learned a lot about restaurant management from the lab.

“In running a restaurant, you have to meet deadlines (and) time schedules, and you have to work with everyone too,” Pratt said.

Students are also required to develop a menu and plan a restaurant. Nutrition and food management senior Brooke Serwa said she enjoyed creating her own menu.

“It was cool to make up a hypothetical restaurant and plan out all of the dishes and see what kind of equipment you would need,” Serwa said.

Students learn time and temperature control for cooking and cleaning, sanitation procedures and they receive their ServSafe Food Handler certification, which is required in most restaurants, Medved said.

Future plans for the Kitchen Café include possibly adding pastas to the afternoon menu next semester, Moody said.

“We’re actually working on getting a garden right outside of the building,” Moody said.  “We’ll be able to actually grow stuff in our own garden and sell it in the restaurant.”

Moody said this is the first semester the café has operated consistently.

He said many customers are ASU faculty and staff, but the restaurant is receiving more outside clients.

The café is located in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation building. It is open Tuesday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:50 a.m. for breakfast and from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for lunch.

 

Reach the reporter at jcsolis@asu.edu or on Twitter @jackiecsolis