There’s a hidden gem in the back of Danner. It’s one where clanking silverware, calls of “order up” and smells of freshly cooked Eggs Benedict are ever present.
The Student Chef restaurant serves as a hands-on learning environment staffed by students in Delta’s Culinary Arts program.
Students are involved in running and operating a kitchen, working in a restaurant setting, operating a cash register, using an espresso machine and providing a variety of smoothies to the customers.
“I learned how to work in a kitchen, how to work with other people, work with things that aren’t as new as everything else but you still work with it, you adapt and just work hard,” said Jesus Sanchez, who is currently enrolled in his second year in the program.
Students are given the opportunity to experience a new and exciting environment with knowledgeable and experienced professors supporting them.
The Student Chef restaurant allows students to run and operate a restaurant on campus.
“We have class Monday through Wednesday so Monday we get everything ready for the restaurant and then on Tuesday and Wednesday we serve, so for the first two weeks we’re serving breakfast from seven o’clock until eleven and… [the students in the 919 class] serve while we go back there and cook for everybody,” said Sanchez.
Chef Mark Berkner is the program head and has been teaching culinary arts at Delta for eight years along with owning and operating two restaurants.
“We focus on providing job skills … that are up to date so we can get them out and working as soon as possible,” said Berkner.
Along with providing real world job skills, the program offers certificates and degrees such as the baking and pastry certificate of achievement, the culinary arts certificate of achievement, the baking and pastry associate in science, and the culinary arts associate in science.
The behind the scenes look at the Student Chef restaurant provides a professional environment where students work at a variety of stations. It mimics a real restaurant setting.
Berkner said his students grow throughout the program and, “by the end they’ve got confidence and strength in their skills.”