On the last week of fall semester classes at the Carlos Rosario School, chefs in training at the Sonia Gutierrez Campus transformed the Marriott Bistro into an upscale restaurant: Fusion. It was the final project for the Culinary Arts Fundamentals class led by instructor Chef Alberto Vega.
“This event gave my students the opportunity to develop the concept of a restaurant and to practice serving skills; to work in the kitchen under pressure; and to sharpen their meticulousness, something that is required of customer service in this type of restaurant,” said Chef Vega.
With this project students were able to work in teams, analyze industry trends, design the logo and menu, choose the name of the restaurant, and cook and serve the food.
In previous years, the Fundamentals class mainly covered back of the house skills –in the kitchen. Driven by recommendations from industry professionals in the School’s culinary arts advisory committee, teachers are now giving more emphasis to front of the house skills. Having that extra set of skills gives students an added advantage in the workplace, giving them more opportunities of finding a job and getting more work hours, said chef Vega.
Oscar Ordoñez, a student in the Fundamentals class, benefited from this new focus. He has been working at La Tasca for about three years, mostly in the kitchen. “I got to work the front after taking the class,” he said, “I never thought they’d have me do that.”
For the spring semester, Chef Alberto plans to continue these practice dinners and invite external guests from the local food industry. It’ll serve as a way for students to show their skills and network with potential employers.