Restaurant offers lessons in gourmet
Gourmet isn't usually a term you associate with lunching at a school, but Dixie Burmeister explains there is an exception in this week's "Boomers & Beyond."
School’s back in session and that means fine dining for you, and who knows perhaps even a new career direction? All thanks to Western Colorado Community College’s Culinary Arts Program and talented instructors like Chef Jon St. Peter.
“It’s a college-level cooking course where students serve in a dining room for the public and students cook in a restaurant for the public," said Jon St. Peter, Assistant Technical Professor for WCCC. "If you are interested in a four-year degree, students can come through the culinary arts program and finish that with an associate’s degree and then enroll and be accepted into a bachelor’s of applied science degree in Colorado Mesa University. There’s also some hospitality degrees being offered, business degrees. There’s a lot of different options.”
Expansion plans attest to the program’s success that offers a choice of degrees and certifications to fit students and their career options.
“We’ve recently undertaken the growth in our facility. We’re looking at doubling the square footage and adding a baking and pastry degree, a new cooking lab so that we can hold more advanced cooking classes so that we can offer that baking and pastry degree and that will really be open to a wide variety of people," St. Peter said.
Hands on experience with Chez Lena means fine dining for us with an impressive menu.
“So that’s really what you’ll see is solid execution, really great local ingredients whenever possible and a flair for the artistic," explained St. Peter.
Unlike Jon, student Jenna Purdy wasn’t sure what she wanted to do and never gave culinary arts a thought until…
“When I got out of high school, I was kind of iffy on what to do and then I heard so many good things about this program, so I was all like ‘I might as well try it out’ and I love it,” said Jenna Purdy, a student in the program.
"We’re open Tuesday through Friday. We serve lunch 11:30 until 1:30 on those days.. But we only serve lunch while school’s in session." said Shannon Pilcher, Dining Room Management Instructor. "Without the students, we don’t run effectively.”
“The age range of our student ranges from traditional students, those at 19 to 22, 23 year old students all the way up to older students, more mature students we like to refer to them as,” St. Peter added.
Listening to them, you know that meeting Shannon, Jon and Jenna and all the students will certainly enhance your Chez Lena dining experience.
Make those reservations, because dining here shows you have good taste.
Chez Lena is located on the Campus of the Western Colorado Community College at 2508 Blichman Avenue in Grand Junction. For reservations or information, call 970-255-2641
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