Senior Showcase

Guests dine at mock restaurants created by TCC students
Posted on 03/16/2021
Students peel potatoes and perform other meal prep.

Poplar Bluff Technical Career Center students prepared a sampling from several original menus for about 60 guests to enjoy during the revamped Senior Showcase on Tuesday, March 9, in the Mules Café.

Sponsored by Ozark Federal Credit Union, the event replaces the meal of the day concept during which culinary arts students would take turns creating a lunch of choice for the public. To prepare for the new format, students began to research menu pairings in the fall, according to culinary arts instructor Brandon Moon.

“I try to look at what the industry is doing and I also pull what I can from my college experience into a high school setting, while teaching the essentials,” explained Chef Moon, who obtained his degree from Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies in Louisville. “A cook knows how to prepare the food, but a chef understands the cost of food, how to balance a meal, and seasonality, so to speak – or when to use fresh products versus store-bought.”

Along with a restaurant name, students chose cuisine themes such as Italian, preparing bite-sized servings of stromboli, Italian wedding soup, babà al rum and tiramisu, or Lebanese, featuring dishes that included kibbeh and sharwama. Others chose neighborhood grill style concepts with burgers and pulled pork sandwiches that are staples in the Southeast Missouri diet, said Moon.

The students worked “tremendously hard” on their mock restaurants, the instructor noted, and he is happy the juniors now have an idea of what will be expected of them next school year. The ultimate goal, Moon added, is to invite local industry professionals and allow them to scout from the soon-to-be graduates of the program.

“Talent’s one thing, but you need to learn to show up, give an honest day’s work, and be able to get along with others if you’re gonna be successful in this business, I tell them,” Moon stated. “With the community, what we’re eventually trying to do is invite restaurant owners and managers in to potentially see these aspects in our students, and hopefully want to hire them to be a benefit to their establishment.”

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Cutline: Students peel potatoes and perform other meal prep to get ready to serve family and friends.

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