Culinary Arts Program Satisfies Hunger

Isiah Reyes

Every Wednesday at noon, the Los Robles Dining Room sizzles up with flavor as it invites everyone to experience the tasteful appetizers, entrées and desserts that it has to offer.

The main menu is created by Andrew Feldman, department chair of the culinary arts department, who said that he likes to serve food “that’s attractive, tasty and safe to eat.”

The assertion by Feldman is easily achievable by the mere fact that he has a large culinary staff ready to cook up the succulent meals every Wednesday.

“Usually my hands-on process, I have between 20 and 28 students,” Feldman said.

One of those students, Alejandra Henriquez, also a supervisor of the event, said that the reason there’s a luncheon on campus is to give culinary arts students an opportunity to showcase their work by preparing a new menu every week.

The main menu on March 25 consisted of an amuse-bouche (mouth-pleaser) of chard-filled empanadas, followed by an appetizer choice of marinated chickpeas salad served with kalamata olive tapenade or ground nut soup.

Afterwards, a broa (Portuguese cornbread) was served, followed by the main entrée. The three main choices between the entrées were: a Moroccan chicken tangine; paella (seafood, chicken and sausage); or a vegetarian moussaka.

For dessert, an almond cake was served to each table. All of the people who attended seemed to enjoy the delicacies. Merrilee Ahaus, an administrative assistant in administrative services, was no exception.

“The food was excellent,” Ahaus said. “I think more people should try the food here.

“I try to come every week because they offer a wide variety of different kinds of foods,” Ahaus continued. When asked what her favorite dish was, she replied, “The vegetarian moussaka. That was very good.”

Feldman, who teaches beginning food prep, advanced food preparation, and sanitation practices, likes to keep things fresh by changing the menu every week. He said that the culinary arts students have one week to practice the recipes for the following week’s luncheon.

For the April 1 lunch, a Tex-Mex style menu was adopted. The starting amuse consisted of mini tostadas compuestas (a crunchy tortilla topped with a meat-chili sauce) and green chili cornbread, served with guacamole, salsa fresca, and homemade corn chips.

The appetizer that followed continued the international flavor by offering a choice between a chicken tortilla soup or jicama and mango salad.

The three main entrées were: country-style ribs basted in a Texas-style barbecue sauce; arroz con pollo (chicken and rice); or chilles rellenos (stuffed chili peppers). The dessert that finished the meal was flan caramelizado (caramelized custard).

The diversity of food was served to all of the tables which were mostly full at both of the Los Robles luncheons.

“There’s a lot people [that show up] and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Feldman said.

The Los Robles Restaurant offers quite a fulfilling lunch every Wednesday, but who are the people who show up?

“We have new people every time, but we do have guests who are there consistently,” Feldman said. “Generally it’s people from the college, whether it’s students, or administrators, faculty members, or members of the college staff.”

Aside from the variety of food offered at the luncheon, a $15 Mimi’s Café gift certificate and a gift certificate for a free lunch in Los Robles is offered every week to the lucky holder of the winning raffle ticket paid for at the front door ($1).

The Los Robles room is located near the upper campus parking lots. The price to enter is $8 and the student discount is $6. For reservations, call (818) 240-1000, ext. 3210. Parties of six or more must confirm their reservations by 3 p.m. the Tuesday before the lunch. Parking permits are available upon request.