Culinary Students Manage the Mission Bistro
By Cynthia Cheng
Walking into the Mission Bistro on March 24, one would catch a glimpse of culinary students Joshua Cabutotan and Emerson Erazo cooking aromatic meat and vegetables at the demo station. What sets the Mission Bistro apart from other restaurants is that students from Mission College's Hospitality Management department run this place. Lunch is currently served there on most Tuesdays and Thursdays during the school year from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
"This is the Restaurant Operations class where we take turns doing every function in the restaurant, such as dishwashing, cooking a steak, being a cashier and hostess," says Michele Shoup, the student manager on March 24. "As managers, we have to write a timeline for every dish, a plating guide, the menu, and recipe instructions. We have two cooks at the demo station and three more people working at the bakery."
On Shoup's Japanese-inspired menu was a juicy and tender beef teriyaki with fresh, stir-fried vegetables. The green tea almond poppy seed bread was sweet with a cake-like texture. The ginger soy dressing gave a kick of spice to the iceberg wedge and edamame salad. The creamy and light Japanese deco roll-up cake came expertly presented in a glass cup with an imprint of a cherry on top. The raspberry and green tea punch mocktail added a fruity splash to the meal.
Offering smooth and polite customer service was Mike Wright, a student waiter. Wright is currently working toward his A.A. in Hospitality Management.
"I'm a waiter today and am learning how to interact with customers the proper way, how to carry out the dishes, and how to time when you put orders in," Wright says. "I've been working in catering for four years, and I want to learn more about the industry. Someday, I'd like to work in corporate management for catering."
"We've had this lunch service that is part of the Restaurant Operations class long before I started at Mission College in January 1996," says Haze Dennis, chair of the Hospitality Management department. "The Mission Bistro was called the Owl Cove Cafe before. The Owl Cove name was a reference to the substantial population of burrowing owls on our campus back then. But those owls are gone. We renovated the restaurant between 2009 to 2012. We wanted a new name. We had input from the students and we wanted to do something contemporary."
During fall semester, food here is served cafeteria style. In the spring semester, the bistro becomes a fine dining restaurant. Students in this class also work on catering orders.
In the coming week, the Mission Bistro will be closed on Thurs., April 2 and Thurs., April 9. It will be open on Tues., April 7. Call (408)-855-5246 to confirm service dates.