Indiana Culinary Students Operate Restaurant

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A five-course meal for $15 cash is what patrons at the new Yellowwood Restaurant will enjoy most Wednesdays.
The restaurant at Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington opened Sept. 28 and had enough customers to fill the 40-seat area in the north portion of the college’s building. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., which are during the class time for culinary students in the college’s hospitality program.

It’s recommended that people plan to spend at least an hour enjoying the full five courses, said Chef Jeff Taber, chairman of the hospitality program at Ivy Tech.

“It’s basically run during class time,” Tabor said. There are two separate classes that run the restaurant: one class takes care of the front-of-house activities; the other is creating the meal that will be served. In all, there are about 15 students running the restaurant, along with the two instructors, Chef Tad DeLay, an assistant professor at Ivy Tech, and Eric Daniels-Howell, assistant general manager at Uptown Cafe.

Patrons are able to watch all the students and their instructors because of the restaurant’s open kitchen concept, which means people can see into the kitchen area. The cooking classes have served French cuisine for the first two Wednesdays. When they return to class after a fall break next week, they will be serving more international cuisine, including dishes from Spain, Vietnam and China.

The teaching and training restaurant first opened at Ivy Tech’s Liberty Drive location, where the hospitality classes were located until the culinary wing at Ivy Tech’s main campus was complete. The former restaurant was known as Crossing Cafe. Now in its permanent location, Yellowwood Restaurant will be open Wednesdays, Oct. 19 through Nov. 16, and then for a couple more weeks into December, Taber said.

There was a naming contest for the restaurant, with an anonymous entry winning. Yellowwood is a species of deciduous tree that is found in southern Indiana, and the committee picking the name thought it was a good fit, Taber said.

The students in the cuisine class creating the dishes are nearing the end of the college program, Taber said, while the students waiting on customers are often just beginning. To complete the hospitality program, students must take the customer service class, he said. “It takes every student out of their comfort zone,” whether that’s dealing with people or the chefs cooking the dishes.

The new restaurant’s open concept also allows students to experience a real-world situation they will likely face once they find employment after college, Taber explained.

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