Senior Showcase 2022

Culinary arts students serve guests from original menus
Posted on 04/12/2022
Makhala Overton

The Poplar Bluff Technical Career Center culinary arts program held its second annual Senior Showcase on Thursday, March 31, serving between 80-100 guests from several student-created menus.

The upperclassmen were tasked with conceptualizing a restaurant from the ground up, according to Chef Brandon Moon, TCC culinary arts instructor. The students chose a concept, food theme, name, logo, menu and recipes, then researched ingredient costs to make bite-sized portions for all the visitors, he explained.

“It helps them have a better understanding of how to put a menu together that both meets the customer’s standards and brings in enough income to support a business,” Moon said. “It also gives them good experience for what it’s like to work a job for a full day. If you’re gonna be in the restaurant business, you have to be able to stand on your feet, communicate and have time-management skills.”

A couple of students chose European pub style themes, another two selected Southern comfort foods and the remainder prepared deli menus. The event, sponsored by Ozark Federal Credit Union, served to showcase to families and patrons what students have learned while working to obtain their ProStart certification. Juniors were assigned to assist seniors with food prep.

“So many times they get assignments that they are not passionate about,” Moon continued. “What I really like about this is they get to decide what it is they like and what they think will be successful, because while you can have good at-home Super Bowl food, you have to determine what commercial products are actually gonna sell.”

Operating the mock restaurant Kayla’s Country Kitchen, Puxico senior Kayla Holt said that her macaroni and cheese and banana pudding seemed to be a hit, based on compliments received. She thought maybe her chicken and dumplings would be most notable.

In her reflection paper, she wrote that while everyone has different tastes, she generally found people to be open-minded. Kayla admitted that her biggest challenge was the deadline and organization. “All in all, I would have enjoyed the event… but beforehand it was kind of stressful,” she stated.

The Senior Showcase concept replaced the previous meal of the day tradition in which seniors took turns creating a menu for the public during Mules Café days. Moon has goals to continue to advance the program, including following up on the event by pairing students at local restaurants so they can observe how functioning businesses operate with similar cuisine.

He hopes that at the future culinary arts center, in planning stages on the TCC campus, he will be able to attract industry leaders to the showcase to scout prospective employees. Another possibility, Moon said, would be to combine the event with open houses for the other career and technical education programs.


Cutline: Culinary arts student Makhala Overton serves guests from her original menu in the restaurant she envisioned called Pinky Girl.

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