Culinary Arts Students to Showcase Work in Spring Gala April 19

Community members are invited to attend Joliet Junior College’s Spring Gala, which will have a unique twist this year– literally, when it comes to the seating arrangements.Culinary Arts Students to Showcase Work in Spring Gala April 19
Instead of banquet-style seating, the gala will feature one long U-shaped table with seats for up to 160 guests. This arrangement, as well as the way dinner will be served, is called Escoffier style, according to Michael McGreal, culinary chair at JJC. McGreal said all student chefs will be coming out in a line with each person’s meal and serve in a synced and uniform way.
The gala, taking place Friday, April 19 on the Main Campus, 1215 Houbolt Road in Joliet, at 6 p.m., costs $95 per person.
It will feature original appetizers created by JJC culinary arts students. Appetizers will be served until 7 p.m. on the Bridge.
A six-course dinner will begin at 7:15 p.m. in the old cafeteria in J-Building. The cost is $95 per person.
This year’s six-course menu will feature:
• First course: Salmon and Alaskan crab
• Second course: Wild game consommé printanier a la royale
• Third course: Local field greens with chive dijon vinaigrette
• Intermezzo: Red currant
• Fifth course: Ribeye of beef
• Dessert: Chocolate and raspberry charlotte royal and amaretto ice cream
McGreal said the culinary department is excited about the unique style of serving this year.
“We’ve never done it before. It’s a cool way to do a dinner and see the reaction of the customer,” he said.
This way of serving will allow students to see the customers’ response to their meal directly – perhaps giving the students more pride in their work.
“The Spring Gala is an excellent opportunity for students to get real life experience during a fine dining event,” McGreal continued. “In school, we’re teaching by the book. The spring gala takes those lessons and actually allows them to apply them to a real life setting, to put on something they can see from the very beginning in concept, to the customer’s face when they get that plate and the ‘aha!’ moment of ‘Wow, this looks so good!’ ”
In addition to students, faculty chefs enjoy the event as well. McGreal said it gives them an opportunity to see their students in restaurant setting for the first time.
“We love this business. We love this career,” he said. “We all feel like that. Now we can have students get that feeling to be the chef for the first time.”
Guests at the gala do not just include family and friends of the students. Many community members, faculty, and Board of Trustees members enjoy coming to the dinner. The public is invited.
All proceeds from the gala go toward buying ingredients and equipment for the Culinary Arts Department as well as scholarships (ranging from $500-$1,000) for students and professional development for faculty. Students will be awarded scholarships at the gala.
Last year, JJC’s culinary scholarships totaled $30,000 according to McGreal.
The cost to attend the gala is $95 per person. To make reservations, contact Dori Miller at (815) 280-2255.

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