Culinary Arts Students Building Career Skills Cooking for You
By Sara Cormany and Bronson Peshlakai
Metro Staff Reporter and Editor
After making “puppy chow” desserts from Chex cereal in 7th grade, Mason Mackulin, 20, was inspired to pursue a career in culinary arts, which led him to Tri-C, and Bistro 87.
Bistro 87 is the Tri-C Metro Campus student restaurant where the public can get the feel of a five-star restaurant at a very reasonable cost.
Assistant professor and chef Karen Monath presides over the restaurant and manages the students under her wing, who are in the culinary arts program and hospitality management program. The business is run very efficiently and has a pleasant atmosphere where the students take pride in what they’re doing.
“This environment gives them the best realistic setting that we can manufacture,” Monath said. “When they get into the industry these are the same real life situations that they will have.”
The restaurant is opened Wednesday and Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. from now thru Dec. 4. An amazing weekly special called the “Chef du Cuisine” offers “three unique tastes created by the student Chef du Cuisine: an appetizer, entrée and dessert” for $9.
Mackulin is in his last term in the culinary arts and hospitality management program and was designated as a baker the day The Voice visited the restaurant. He prepared an apple crisp with bourbon whipped cream for the Chef du Cuisine special.
“(Bistro 87) is a real restaurant. This is real life. You learn how to work under pressure; you learn how to make things immediately on the fly,” Mackulin said. “It gets you ready for the real world and it’s the most important. No book can teach you this.”
In November the restaurant will be working with the art department to raise money for Harvest For Hunger. The event is called “The Empty Bowl” where patrons are treated to soup and dessert served in a bowl made by art students; which visitors can keep when they leave the restaurant.
Monath graduated from The Culinary Institute of America and taught at Pennsylvania State University for 10 years before coming to Tri-C. She said her goal is to teach her students to be successful in the industry.
“If they can learn from my experience then they are more well prepared to be out there and to do well,” Monath said.