It’s not too hot in the kitchen for Bay and Arenac high school students running Blooming Chefs

Next time you’re hungry and looking for a new place to eat, you might want to think of supporting the Bay-Arenac ISD Career Center’s Blooming Chefs Restaurant.

The students rotate through the different jobs, learning the full scope of running a restaurant.Blooming Chefs is a restaurant run for the intended purpose of teaching youth how to work in all facets of the restaurant industry. The Bay-Arenac ISD Career Center is a Career and Technical Education Center which teaches high school juniors and seniors career skills in programs specified to a career or industry.

The student-run restaurant serves everything from sandwiches to Beef Bourguignon.The high school juniors and seniors who are in The Culinary Arts Program at the Bay-Arenac ISD Career Center learn skills on how to work in the “back of house” cooking and in the “front of house” serving customers.

At the restaurant, students prep ingredients to create soups, salads, sandwiches, and entrees for lunch served Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.Blooming Chef’s does this by employing four co-op interns and rotating through all the students in the Bay-Arenac ISD Career Center’s Culinary Arts program. The students who rotate through, spending about a week at a time in the restaurant making the food or serving the customers.

While the Blooming Chefs menu is limited, it does change every day.The four co-op students get to work in cooperation with their teachers Laura Shann and Jennifer Honsinger.

The chefs learn real-world skills in the kitchen and in the dining room at Blooming Chefs.Shann oversees the “back of house,” which is everything you don’t see when you’re in a restaurant. Shann sets the menu and figures out portions and does all necessary ordering along with teaching the students how to cook in a restaurant environment.

The Blooming Chefs restaurant has its own entrance to welcome diners from throughout the community.Honsinger oversees the “front of house,” or the area where people are being served. Honsinger makes sure the front is clean, tidy, and ready for customers along with teaching the students the necessary soft skills needed to be a host, waiter, or bartender.

The entrees include a trip to the soup and salad bar, a drink, and dessert.There are a lot of customers who go to Blooming Chefs on a regular basis as well; they love to interact with the Culinary Arts students, have a good meal, and support young learners’ education.

In addition to serving the public inside Blooming Chefs restaurant, the students in the Culinary Arts program also supply the student cafeteria with some items. The cafeteria work gives the students experience in a faster-paced setting.Blooming Chefs is open every week Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with some exceptions always listed ahead on the online menu. Next week’s specials include Beef Bourguignon on Tues., March 21; Chicken Curry on Wed., March 22; and Crab Cakes on Thurs., March 23.

The eatery attracts a wide range of customers, including a few folks who come in on a regular basis.Every day there is a new special that is being offered at Blooming Chefs. Blooming Chefs restaurant offers a very diverse food menu with everything from Chinese to French. The sandwich menu made up from the sandwiches inspired by the Second-Year students is available every day.

The students work together to serve diverse meals at Blooming Chefs.The price for the daily special is $8 and a sandwich is $7. The prices include homemade soup, salad bar, and a fountain pop drink. Blooming Chefs also offers holiday buffets occasionally. Reservations are required for the holiday buffets. The next holiday buffet, set for Thurs., March 30, celebrates Easter.

Desserts are included with entrees at the student-run restaurant.This part of the curriculum pairs great with the other cafeteria-style restaurant offered to students of the Bay-Arenac ISD Career Center during their daily break.

The goal of the Culinary Arts program is to give students a taste of restaurant work. They'll also leave high school with the skills and experience needed to work in the food industry.The Culinary Arts students make fries, chicken tenders, grilled cheese, and much more for the other students in their school. In the cafeteria, the Culinary Arts students get to learn how to cook and carry out purchases in a faster moving environment than in Blooming Chefs.

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