The student-run Havirmill Cafe in the Culinary and Allied Health Building, 418 East Walnut St. opened to the public Oct 6.
The cafe blends a quick-service “grab and go” concept -- premade sandwiches wrapped and ready for takeout -- with a small a la carte menu of made-to-order items. Two soups and a salad bar also are found in the cafe.
"The café classroom is part of Kalamazoo Valley’s 'Menus That Matter' Culinary Arts & Sustainable Food Systems Program and provides students with a hands-on experience in a working cafe," says John Korycki, Director of Culinary Education.
"A variety of soups, salads and sandwiches will be prepared by our students following recipes from the healthiest cuisines of the world," says Korycki. "Our menus will change frequently based on the seasonal availability of locally sourced ingredients."
There currently are 28 students enrolled in the class. As they work in the cafe, getting experience in the kitchen and the retail aspects of the operation, they are getting college credit.
In the Culinary Arts program, they learn food preparation, the science of food and menus for diets and health. They receive experience in the cafe and in a restaurant that is part of the health-focused campus.
As part of the program, students learn cuisines from across the world that are considered the most healthy, such as Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Mexican, and Italian. "They are healthy as long as we don't add the extra cheeses and extra calories that Americans like," Korycki says. Students spend one week of seven learning a new cuisine and what makes it healthy.
As all meals in the cafe and restaurant use produce from southwest Michigan farms, students learn to work with seasonal produce.
They also will study how to use produce from the Food Innovation Center, where greens, tomatoes, and more will be growing throughout the winter.
The program also requires that they learn about sustainable food systems.
"We welcome our guests to be a part of our students’ classroom experience," Korycki says.
The Culinary Arts and Food Systems program was developed with advisory groups of chefs, farmers, food processors/distributors and food industry entrepreneurs incorporating the latest professional culinary standards.
The cafe will be open between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. For daily menus and class schedule visit the cafe's Facebook page
Source: John Korycki, Director of Culinary Education, KVCC