A new beginning for the Hospitality Main Event

Since their move from the Jacobetti Complex, NMU’s hospitality program is reimagining their events for the near future.
The NMU hospitality programs 2022 main event, the Gala of the Galaxies. Photo courtesy of the NMU Hospitality Program
The NMU hospitality program’s 2022 main event, the “Gala of the Galaxies.” Photo courtesy of the NMU Hospitality Program

People were lined up out the door of the Jacobetti Complex on Saturday, April 16, 2022. At least 10 couples, dressed in space themes, waited to enter. When they passed through the curtained entrance, they saw people dressed as aliens and other out-of-this-world costumes as they shuffled to the many walking hors d’oeuvre trays, to the endless cocktail bar, to their planet-themed table or to the games laid out for this event.

As the music faded, the guests took their seats and were delivered their courses and paired drinks. A plate of crisp fresh greens with crunchy bell pepper, savory balsamic and spring-sweet strawberries. Scallops sizzling in a tangy pool of Eastern flavors brightened by the sweet, paired Riesling. A unique, refreshing blueberry sorbet flavored with a wave of pungent dill. All of those and more graced the palettes of those who attended this event.  Yet unknown to the participants, the Gala of the Galaxies would be the last main event for the NMU hospitality program.

“We are not hosting a traditional main event, we are hosting a mini-event series,” said Loganne Glendening, associate professor and assistant department head of technology and occupational sciences.

Instead of the grand hospitality event near the end of the year, now three events will be held across the winter semester. This will give more people the opportunity to enjoy what the hospitality program offers.

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The first of the trio of events will be hosted on Saturday, Feb. 24. It is only for season ticket holders for NMU Theatre and Dance, with which the hospitality program will be collaborating.

“It is a ‘Puffs’ themed three-course meal,” Glendening said.

“Puffs” is a parody play of “Harry Potter,” and the food offered will reflect that theme, with chocolate-covered golden truffle snitches, savory butterbeer and much more, Glendening said. She also explained how students from hospitality and scenic design classes are coming together to build the set for this meal.

The second event the hospitality program is holding will be hosted on Sunday, March 31.

“It is the ‘Longer Days Luncheon,’ a culinary community festival and will be in the Grand Ballroom at the Northern Center highlighting the culinary art students,” Glendening said.

She explained that everything is tentative as it is all up to the students to put everything together.

“Think of everything you can do at a spring festival: you can do crafts, listen to music, drink and leave stuffed,” Glendening said.

The prices for a ticket to this event range from $100-$125 and it is open to any student and anyone in the community.

The final event in this trio is called the Legacy Dinner and will be held on Friday, April 19.

“It is our end of the year showcase, and the theme will be our students,” Glendening said.

The ticket prices will be in the same range as the Longer Days Luncheon and the event will mark the start of a unique tradition between two NMU programs.

“I’ve collaborated with the ceramic department, where for the Legacy Dinner they provide and design the dinnerware,” Glendening said. “I’m looking at this like an opportunity for the students to show themselves.”

This is only the second year the hospitality program has been at the Northern Center, as they were previously located in the Jacobetti Complex.

“It’s the end of year two and we are really feeling established,” Glendening said.

So much so that the program has finally settled on a name for their kitchen: North Fork, NMU’s Teaching Kitchen. The name was selected with assistance from the NMU Marketing Department.

With the start of the Mini Event Series, the hospitality program starts its growth plan.

“In 2025, we will open up our restaurant to public and in 2026, we will have both the restaurant and events,” Glendening said.

Organizers say this series of events provides guests with similar experiences, while offering the same special flare the community and college are used to. One of the things that makes the hospitality program’s events special is that they partner with many programs and departments that go often under the radar. For example, for the Gala of the Galaxies event, they partnered with the NMU dance team, cosmetology program, the Northern Michigan Constructors Club and Double Trouble Entertainment from Marquette.

The trio of events offered this year will similarly see the hospitality program integrate and collaborate with other NMU groups. Organizers say event goers can also expect the same flare that the students provided in 2022, as a few of the students from then are now leading the projects now. Senior Orion Ingmire is the sous chef, Senior Trixie Maguran Jacobson is the executive chef and Senior Jared Charles is the event director.

Glendening says fans of the hospitality program and its events have no need to worry, because although things are evolving and changing in the program, the hospitality program  is still acting as NMU’s hearth by bringing people and programs together.

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