Escape to Jacobetti for tropical food

Joe Rubingh

NMU’s hospitality management program will be hosting Escape to the Jungle this Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the Jacobetti Center.

Escape to the Jungle is an event put on to raise money for the hospitality management program’s scholarship fund.

It will consist of a dinner with many different courses along with wine pairings, games including limbo, a silent auction and live entertainment.

Deborah Pearce, an assistant professor of technology and occupational services at NMU, is in charge of the event along with her banquets and catering class.

“The students have to come up with a theme,” Pearce said. “We have one big event and typically I’ll give a very general theme. I said, ‘make it in the tropics.’”

There were 10 teams of students and they came up with 10 different tropical themes. Students then took a vote and Escape to the Jungle was the winning theme.

During the reception, there will be three different dishes being served: coconut shrimp, Bibb lettuce wraps and beef canapés.

The main course, which starts at 7:15 p.m., features five different dishes including ahi tuna pot stickers and agave-braised pork and dessert.

The desserts include mocha tortes, papaya ice cream and grilled, rum-glazed bananas.

Elliott Bruinekool, a hospitality management major and student-elected executive chef, will be supervising the event.

He also made a lot of decisions on the menu, but he credits most of the success to his team.

“I’m just glad to be working with the crew I have here, really talented folks,” Bruinekool said.

According to Pearce, all the cooking and decorating is done by students, but there are some volunteers from other departments.

Students from the drama, construction and art majors help as well with things like decorating and designing.

“It’s cool how different departments at Northern work together to make it happen,” Pearce said.

The hospitality management program gives out anywhere from $300 to $2,000 annually to three or four different students through scholarships, Pearce said.

“I’d like to see more people applying,” Pearce said. “Not enough people are aware that it’s free money.

“I know that for one of ours you only need to have a 2.5 GPA, so it’s not like you have to be a 4.0 student.”

The money made at the Escape to the Jungle event will not directly affect how much scholarship money is given out, but it does perpetuate it, Pearce said.

“There’s a significant amount of money already in our scholarships that’s available to students,” Pearce said. “It’s there and all they need to do is apply for it.”

According to Pearce, like any other scholarship you need to contact the NMU Foundation.

“There’s a list of criteria for them,” Pearce said. “They vary slightly; things like your GPA has to be a specific number; sometimes there’s an essay that needs to be written and you have to be a hospitality management major.”

Sometimes Pearce, along with the rest of the faculty, vote on who gets the scholarship. Pearce said she looks for someone who truly has a passion for the industry.

Reservations are required and cost $75 per person.