PULLMAN, Wash. — Herbed goat cheese and heirloom tomato tarts…Arugula and Fuji apples with shaved manchango cheese…grilled Coho salmon atop wild mushroom with pomegranate risotto. These are just a few of the first night menu items when CafÃ© Curricula returns to the Washington State University campus Sept. 29, operated completely by hospitality business management students.
“At 6 p.m. for eight Mondays through Nov. 17, the students in the program’s advanced catering class will plan, shop for, prepare, serve and clean up from the region’s best four-course, fine dining experience,” said Gene Fritz, culinary educator and chef for the School of Hospitality Business Management in the College of Business and Economics.
CafÃ© Curricula has operated as a student class project from the school’s professional kitchen in Todd Hall on the Pullman campus for several years. Fritz and his students decided to bring back the popular on-campus, after-classes dining experience following a one-year hiatus. “We used the time off to evaluate the operation, and decided to bring it back better than ever,” said Fritz.
Twenty students in the senior-level HA 458 class learn front- and back-of-the-house operations management principles, and advanced culinary techniques that apply to the food and beverage industry. “This is also a rare opportunity for students to work with specialty foods, like expensive mushrooms called chanterelles, that you don’t find in everyday menus for most restaurants,” said Ryan Donaldson, a senior in hospitality business management from Seattle.
The cost for the dinners at CafÃ© Curricula will run $25-35 per person, plus beverages that include specialty wines and beers from the Northwest. The students plan the menus for each week based on seasonal and regional ingredients and consider factors like the “flow of the menu” so that one course doesn’t overshadow another, said Donaldson, who came to WSU for a hospitality degree after owning his own catering business, managing a bar, and being a line cook during his nine years in the restaurant industry.
“I would love for everyone on the Palouse to dine at CafÃ© Curricula this semester,” said Donaldson. “It’s conveniently located and offers elegant food at affordable prices. It’s a great way for the students to interact with and serve the community.”
To make CafÃ© Curricula reservations for any of the 6 p.m. seatings Mondays from Sept. 29 through Nov. 17, call (509) 335-EATS (3287). To check upcoming menus by week, and for the latest CafÃ© Curricula news, log on to www.cbe.wsu.edu.