By MARY STARR firstname.lastname@example.org
Students in the Culinary Arts program at College of Coastal Georgia are preparing for a milestone in their college careers. Carl Miller, program coordinator of culinary arts at the college, is looking forward to the capstone dinner, which will begin at 6 p.m. Sunday at Halyards on St. Simons Island.
This isn't the first capstone dinner, but it has been nearly two years since one took place.
"A while back the culinary arts program did a capstone dinner, which is a final exam in all reality, but these students still have courses to complete before getting their degree," Miller said. "I have phrased it as a culminating semester- ending project for the culinary arts students, which involves all culinary arts students taking lab-related courses."
But, Miller said, the dinner is more than an exam. It is a time for them to come together as a team to produce an event they are proud of and display the skills they have learned. At the same time, it is also an opportunity for the students to get exposure in a real-world setting with immediate feedback.
"We would like to have (everything) perfect for this affair, but everyone needs to know this is still a class, even though it is not at the institution," he said. "Students will make mistakes and learn from them."
Miller added that the dinner is also a lesson in "giving back," and thanking the community for supporting the culinary arts program at the college. He said he and other faculty members in the program are working to make the capstone dinner an event at the end of every fall and spring semester.
The menu, he said, was prepared by program instructors.
"We have taken into consideration having the students use as many skills as they have been taught, give them a vast array of food items they normally might not be exposed to and to think outside the box."
Miller expects about 75 people to attend, but he realizes that people may have already made holiday arrangements. The dinner, priced at $60 per person, and has two seatings at 6 and 7:15 p.m., includes an array of seasonal delights. A cash bar will also be available.
Dinner will begin with amuse bouche, complimentary, a bite-sized portion of food served before a meal or between courses in a restaurant, and a duo of smoked fish appetizer comprised of salmon, sea bass, pomegranate relish, boniato (sweet potato). The soup is a Geechee-style gumbo with turkey and a traditional garnish. The salad will be an Asian salad featuring a Far East salad mix and farmers cheese topped with bourbon soya dressing and toasted sesame seeds. Crystallized grapefruit will be the intermezzo.
Diners will have a choice of two entrees — a mixed grille of bison, chicken, rabbit, fall roasted vegetables and veal jus lie — or flounder royal glaciate and fall roasted vegetables.
It all ends with a dessert of sweet potato rhum cake, ginger ice cream and Scandinavian fruit sauce.
Reservations may be made by calling 279-5930 and will be accepted through noon Friday.