PULLMAN, Wash. – Professors and alumni from Washington State University’s School of Hospitality Business Management will lead a group of high school teachers from Alaska to Louisiana as they cut it up with Cougars at Seattle’s Seahawks Stadium from June 23-27.
In chef’s hats and starched white aprons, these 26 men and women educators are becoming students once again to get hands-on lessons about everything from gourmet meal preparation to nutritional menu planning to teamwork. The faculty members and former graduates spent months planning the week-long class.
In the teachers’ home high schools, their students—who are interested in careers in hospitality—participate in ProStart, a school-to-career youth program of the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation. WSU hosted its first summer-class session for ProStart educators last year at its Pullman campus.
This year, Gene Fritz, a WSU culinary educator, decided to try a new venue and was excited when stadium operator First & Goal Inc. and stadium concessionaire ARAMARK offered the stadium club kitchen for the class facility.
“Educators in the class are coming from as near as Renton and Yakima and as far away as New Iberia, La.; Noble, Okla.; and Palmer, Alaska, so learning to cook like chefs in a professional kitchen that offers breathtaking vistas of Seattle will definitely make this a five-star experience for everyone,” Fritz said.
Terry Umbreit, school director, added, “We’re excited to give these ProStart educators a taste of our hospitality program at WSU. They play an important role in helping their students bridge the gap from high school to college and then on to their careers. We want to be sure they know what a quality program WSU offers in hospitality and business.”
The busy days start around 7:15 a.m. with some running until late evening. In addition to attending classes, participants will shop for fresh foods at Pike Place Market and dine at Buca di Beppo and Union Square Grill. HBM professors and alumni will teach them about service excellence, nutrition, menu costing and pricing, the concepts and benefits of teamwork and diversity in the hospitality industry. The will also roll up their chef’s sleeves to learn to properly wield an array of kitchen knives and to prepare basic stocks, soup and sauces.
One afternoon will be devoted to learning basic baking principles followed by a tasting of the breads. Their week in the kitchen whips to a frenzy on Thursday morning when they prepare dishes with meats, seafood, poultry and vegetables. They present the haute cuisines to each other using creative plate composition as is done in fine restaurants.
“One of the most fun aspects of the week is that they do get to feast on and savor everything they prepare,” Fritz said, who regularly competes in food competitions in the region.
“By the end of the week, the ProStart educators will have a good taste for what our hospitality students experience during their culinary education courses at WSU and beyond as graduates of the program working in the largest industry in the world—hospitality,” Umbreit said.
The WSU Hospitality Business Management Program is a leader among hospitality programs around the world. Students earn a four-year baccalaureate degree, and develop special management skills tailored to the hospitality industry. This year, HBM was rated No. 1 among leading U.S. hospitality programs for providing the best career services help to its students.
Fritz and his students will produce several evening meals this fall at the Pullman campus that are open to the public. Visit www.cbe.wsu.edu/hbm for more information on HBM and its upcoming events.
If you would like to visit Fritz, Umbreit and their ProStart class at Seahawks Stadium, call Fritz at (509) 432-6056 (cell phone) to make arrangements.