The kitchen at Carbon County Technical Institute was filled with future chefs busily preparing the last dinner of the year at the Harvest Cafe on Wednesday.
The Harvest Cafe is student run under the supervision of Nadine Harbove, the culinary adviser.
Usually, the cafe is open on Wednesday afternoons for lunch, but the students host a dinner once a month as well. On May 18, "American Classic Dinner" was the second dinner put together by the CCTI culinary students. The other was held in honor of Mother's Day.
The "American Classic Dinner" featured a fruity appetizer choice – cantaloupe soup or fruit salad; and classic main choice options, either a barbecue chicken and rib combination or a seasoned, grilled Delmonico steak with a grilled shrimp kebab.
The side dishes served were grilled asparagus, corn-on-the-cob or a baked potato. There was also a full menu of desserts including seasonal favorites such as strawberry shortcake and peach Melba.
CCTI senior Jacob Gaegler of Beltzville, the cafe's host for the day, told the TIMES NEWS that students in the culinary arts program learn the basic cooking and baking skills, but do get into more complicated recipes.
He said that each meal the students prepare for restaurant goers is different, ensuring the customers a different culinary experience each time they visit the cafe, while teaching the students how to prepare various dishes.
"The education (here) is practical, theoretical and educational," said Gaegler.
The students learn in a classroom adjacent to the large industrial style kitchen where meals are prepared not only for the cafe, but also for the CCTI students' lunch.
It's hard to believe that the Harvest Cafe is inside a school. The student waitstaff looks professional in their burgundy vests and crisp white collared shirts, and the dining room looks as good as any nice restaurant. While the dining area was filled with patrons enjoying their lunch, the dinner hour was expected to bring in even more customers.
"It's slow now. You should come back and see it at dinner!" said Harbove.
Because Harvest Cafe is student run, it will be closing soon for the summer. To make reservations for Wednesday lunch or dinner in the future, call (570) 325-3682.