Take a sneak peak inside a school kitchen before opening of student-run restaurant

Local News

State College, Pa- Wednesday evening, students in the culinary arts program at State College Area High School will host their first dinner at their own restaurant.

WTAJ took a look inside the school’s teaching kitchen Tuesday afternoon to see how students are preparing for opening night at “Centre Plate”, the new restaurant’s name.

Centre Plate will host one dinner per month that will be open to the public. A reservation is required for a table and each dinner will have a theme. The theme for opening night is Mardi Gras.

Students say they’re hoping to give locals a little taste of southern hospitality.

As the bell rang on Tuesday afternoon inside State College Area High School, students, unlike other classes, didn’t sit down at a desk, preparing to take notes. Instead they entered the school’s state-of-the art teaching kitchens… where most of the learning is hands-on.

Before beginning to cook, the student chefs first changed into the proper attire: chef aprons and hats.

After that, a quick meeting was held by instructor Chef Zach Lorber. Lorber organized each team for the various dishes that would be cooked during Tuesday’s class, in preparation for Wednesday evening.

“There’s chicken thigh’s that have to be cut up… there’s shrimp stock that has to be strained…,” Lorber detailed some of the key steps required to prepared each dish.

Then, the students got to work.

Portions of the Mardi Gras themed menu that were being prepared Tuesday included: 

-Gumbo
-Quinoa Salad
-Collard Greens
-Bread Pudding

As student’s worked to prepared their meals… taste-tests were a key part of the process.

“How did he do Chef?”, WTAJ’s Evan Hinkley asked Chef Lorber after he, along with students tasted a mixed quinoa salad.

“Good! … but needs a little more sauce,” replied Lorber.

Lorber says the students are ready for their first night of dinner service.

“There’s a lof of enthusiasm. They’re excited that we’re taking it from just cooking in theory to practice,” he said.

The students agree it will give them experience that’s hard to get elsewhere.

“I think that people going into the industry, should know what the industry is really like, and this could give good experiences to kids,” said Audrey Grello, a senior culinary arts student at State College Area High School.

This experience could prepare them for a future career in the culinary arts industry.

“If a student goes through two or three years of our culinary program, they could be a line cook in a restaurant. They could work in a resort or a hotel, or they could be ready to go to a four year culinary program,” Lorber said.

The cost of Wednesday’s dinner is $28 per person. But, all 50 reservation spots are currently filled. So if you want to get a taste of what “Centre Plate” has to offer, you’ll have to wait until next month.

The students hope to eventually serve these dinners to raise money for class trips around the United States, and abroad.

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