Good food? It May Not Be That Far From Campus

Grace Williams

Walk into the Jacobetti Center on any weekday morning, and you just might smell delicious food. There is a kitchen in the Jacobetti building that boasts fresh and tasty meals for great prices. The Culinary Café offers many different options for students who are interested in enjoying meals prepared by aspiring chefs and hospitality management workers.

re-Culinary Cafe Courtesy Photo

The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., with a consistent yet various menu. The cafe offers sides, hot sandwiches, cold sandwiches, salads and more. “Professional Cooking I” is the class that includes the lab held in the cafe. The students working in the café are not always the same. There are three different classes that help in the restaurant during the week, instructed by Deborah Pearce, Andrew Sear or Loganne Boersema. Each class has an average of 16 students, with three additional teaching assistants. The students have the chance to work in many different areas of the café, with some options being kitchen preparation, grill work and dish washing.

In this lab course, “all of the students work in the kitchen preparing meals and in the cafe serving,” said sophomore hospitality management major Tamara Hunter. She also says that students who are focused on hospitality management can learn about a possible future career while working on their class studies. The web page for the cafe informs readers that all first-year hospitality management students are required to work within the café, so that they can gain the experience and training it takes to work in a food service setting. Tamara Hunter said she thinks the lab course is a beneficial opportunity. “Working in the café has given me the skills of working with urgency in the kitchen,” Hunter said. “It also provides me with serving skills in the restaurant environment.”

Tamara Hunter said the class is run as if it were a professional restaurant, with the students being held to high standards while working in the kitchen. “Students must wear non-slip shoes, an apron and a chef’s hat, coat and pants,” Hunter said. These requirements for the class help students understand from the very beginning of their hospitality student career that safety and sanitation are necessities in the kitchen.

Not only is the class helpful for students who are enrolled in the program, it is also helpful for students who are in the Jacobetti Center for class and don’t exactly have time to leave campus.

“It’s convenient for me,” senior engineering major Wes McWilliams said. “Having classes in the Jacobetti and being able to walk over to the café and get some quick and cheap food is pretty great.” He said he can get a variety of items very inexpensively in a pinch, so he regards it as a favorite of his. Students can get made-to-order items for as much as $6, or even as little as $2. A cup of coffee can be as little as $1 for students looking for a caffeine fix.

There are many options on the menu that appeal to all different tastes.  Some best-sellers include the macaroni and cheese, poutine and chicken, bacon and ranch wraps. Poutine is a special item, not found in many places in the UP. It is a bowl of fries and cheese curds topped with gravy, a popular dish in Canada. Not only does the cafe serve a variety of foods, it also lets students use Cat Cash or a meal plan to purchase items. Senior marketing student Jonie Panick said, “I like the food that the cafe serves, but I also like how convenient it is to be able to use my Dining Dollars on my student ID.” The Culinary Cafe allows students to charge up to $8 per day on their student ID card when the student has a standard meal plan, or with dining dollars that are pre-loaded onto the account.

The Culinary Cafe, located in the Jacobetti Center, is a great place for students. Those that are involved in the business of the cafe can learn how to create food and practice safety in the kitchen, and those who are hungry can enjoy the cooked-to-order menu during breakfast and lunch time.