The Sacramento region's best kept dining secret is open for another season of tasty food, great service, and valuable learning. On October 17, local educators and civic leaders helped the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) celebrate the 15th annual grand opening of the Culinary Café.
Students are the driving force behind the café and the Culinary Arts Program. Culinary students from the Leo A. Palmiter Jr./Sr. High School and Elinor Lincoln Hickey Jr./Sr. High School campuses do everything from preparing food and serving customers to cleaning up the kitchen and classroom. These are young people with special needs who are learning employment and social skills. Many students who are successful in the Culinary Arts program have been placed in jobs at Sacramento-area restaurants.
During the invitation-only grand opening, guests were treated to a meal including a green garden salad, chicken piccata with capers, mushroom risotto, vegetable medley, and red velvet cake. Many of the ingredients used by the student chefs are grown in a vegetable garden maintained by students.
During the 2013-14 school year, students will focus on the regional "Farm-To-Fork" movement as a component of their Sustainable Environments Learning Academy. Produce grown by students will be featured in Culinary Café dishes, as well as offered for sale at the school's weekly Farmers Market.
SCOE operates the Palmiter and Hickey campuses to serve special student populations. During the grand opening, students enrolled in the Sacramento Regional Occupational Program (ROP) Culinary Arts course showcased the food preparation and service skills they had learned from Chef/Instructor Jeff Zahniser.
The Culinary Café is located at Leo A. Palmiter High School, 2040 Ethan Way (corner of Ethan Way and Cottage Way, three blocks north of Arden Fair Mall).
The Café is now accepting lunch reservations for their Thursday seatings. The cost is $7 (gratuity not included). All proceeds go back into the program. Those interested in making lunch reservations should call the Culinary Café: (916) 228-2039. Menus are posted on the Culinary Café website as they become available.