Culinary Arts Students to Showcase Talents for JJC Spring Gala 2014; Community Invited April 25

Joliet Junior College culinary arts students will delight guests at this year’s Spring Gala with a delicious six-course meal and Escoffier style seating on Friday, April 25 on the Main Campus at 1215 Houbolt Road in Joliet.

A JJC culinary student behind the scenes during the Spring Gala in 2013.

Hors d’oeuvres will be served from 6-7 p.m. on the Bridge, and dinner will begin at 7:15 p.m. in the former cafeteria in the J-Building. The cost is $95 per person, with only 160 tickets available.

This is the second year the Spring Gala will feature Escoffier style seating – an arrangement featuring one long U-shaped table. This style will allow student chefs to serve guests’ entrees in unison. The seating arrangement and serving style is credited to French chef Auguste Escoffier, born in 1846.

“We really liked the feel of the Escoffier seating and service last year,” said Mike McGreal, JJC culinary arts department chair. “The room looked really elegant and uniform. It was neat to see all the guests sitting at the regal-looking long tables.”

This year’s six-course menu will feature:

  • First Course: Sautéed salmon with a bacon thyme crust
  • Second Course: Cream of asparagus royale
  • Third Course: Mixed field greens with champagne dijon vinaigrette
  • Fourth Course: Mango lime popsicle
  • Fifth Course: Beef tenderloin with an onion and mushroom farce, madeira jus
  • Sixth Course: Raspberry white chocolate Bavarian with lemon curd and almond cake

The Spring Gala is typically a culinary student’s first experience behind the scenes of a fine dining event.

Escoffier Style Seating, Spring Gala 2013

“Once the event is over, we typically hear students in our back halls cheering and talking about how cool it was to be a part of it,” McGreal said.

In addition to the meal, JJC Chef Keith Vonhoff will be recognized at the gala. After teaching in JJC’s Culinary Arts Department for the past 30 years, he will retire at the end of the spring semester.

“Chef Keith Vonhoff has been a key figure in the success of the culinary arts program as we know it today and has served as a role model for not only our students, but also for our instructors,” McGreal said.

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, culinary arts students received more than $10,000 in scholarships.

The cost to attend the gala is $95 per person, with a portion being tax deductible. To make reservations, contact Dori Miller at (815) 280-2255.

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