Culinary Arts Students Host Wednesday Lunch

Adriana Orellana

Wednesday Meals provides a full and complete meal at a great price for Glendale Community College students and staff, put together by the Culinary Arts department and the Hospitality and Management Tourism Department.

“We are a close knit family when we put ‘Wednesday Meals’ together because we all know each other and we work together as a team, without any competitiveness between us,” said Erika Ponte, a hospitality and tourism management student.

The set up and service throughout the meal is impeccable and patrons feel well taken care of, whether they are sitting inside the dining room or the wonderfully set up outside eating area.

“The set up is done by the hospitality and tourism management students, who also serve the food,” said Susie Keyvanian, hospitality and tourism management program assistant.

The meals are made by culinary arts students, under the supervision and instruction of Chef Andrew Ayers and Chef Andrew Feldman.

The meal served on March 9 was a buffet themed “Soul Food,” which student Yana Johnson said included double eggs with crab, tomato and cucumber salad, black-eyed peas, hush puppies (corn meal based), collard greens, macaroni and cheese, pork chops, Catfish, sweet potato biscuits, corn bread, banana pudding, and iced tea.

“Students will start with the Culinary Arts 111 class, which is the basic class on food preparation and then onto the 112 class, which is on advanced food preparation, but we have students from both of those classes helping out,” said Ayers.

A lot of students put their dedication and hard work into the meals that they make throughout the program.

“I want to get an associate’s degree in culinary arts, and I plan to move to New York and attend a culinary arts school,” said Robert Sencion, a culinary arts student who is in his second semester.

There are three areas that the culinary arts department offers specialization in: culinary, dietary, and hospitality.

“The students put in nine hours per week, meeting twice a week, and I try to enforce the 10,000 hours theory, which focuses on practice makes perfect,” said Feldman.

The students who participate and put together the Wednesday restaurant schedule are put into teams every time they have to work together, but are rotated so that they can obtain different experiences from the different areas they work in.

“This is a great experience for these students because they learn many things such as soft skills like greeting, communication skills, teamwork, awareness of surroundings, achievement of guest satisfaction, and the rotation or different tasks through work experience and although they make mistakes, they will learn and manage, ” said Dennis Ma, program outreach manager of hospitality and tourism management.

Ma, who attended GCC, hopes to improve the program and hopes the students will help as well in moving it forward.

“We learn things here that will help us on the outside world and we realize why those things work and why they must be done,” said Ponte, who has worked at Red Robin for five years.

Students who obtain an associate’s degree in hospitality and tourism management may continue to work on in areas like hotels and management, and must take a banquet and catering course and a dining room course to obtain their certificate.

Michael Lao, hospitality and tourism management program director, also wishes to expand the teaching of hospitality and tourism to other areas, and he is currently working with Homeboy Industries, a program which offers counseling, tutoring, and employment for at-risk youth and gang members, in teaching the Homegirls how to get into hospitality.

Upcoming themes include: Hawaiian on March 16, Bayou Blast on March 30, Mediterranean on April 20, and Tex-Mex on May 4. The last “Wednesday” meal of the semester will be on May 18 and will be themed Titanic, inspired by the last meal the passengers ate on the ill-fated trip.

“For our Titanic Hall of Fame dinner, we usually expect about 160 people,” said Lao.

“Communication is very important here, and we don’t order the students and have the students organize themselves,” said Ma. “This is where everything comes into play, and it is stressful to do this, but you learn to let go, and no two days are the same.”

Titanic Luncheon:
Student price is $8.95
Staff and others $10.95

**Regular Wednesday Restaurant prices other than Titanic are:

Students $6.95

Staff and others $8.95

Reservations are required for all Wednesday Restaurants.