The menu resembled that of a fancy restaurant: an appetizer of pickled vegetables, an entrée of boneless braised beef short ribs, and apple pie à la mode for dessert. It was all prepared and served by students, though, to launch the 20th year of one of Sacramento County’s best-kept fine dining secrets: the Culinary Café. A group of local educators and civic leaders enjoyed the invitation-only opening lunch yesterday.
Students are the driving force behind the Culinary Café, launched during the 1998–99 school year, and the Culinary Arts Program at Leo A. Palmiter Jr./Sr. High School and Elinor Lincoln Hickey Jr./Sr. High School. They are young people with educational challenges, learning employability and social skills. Students enrolled in the program showcased the food preparation and service skills they have learned under Chef/Instructor Stephen Hazelton.
Many students successful in the Culinary Arts Program have been placed in jobs at Sacramento-area restaurants. The Palmiter and Hickey campuses are operated by the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) to serve special student populations.
The Culinary Café serves lunch on specific Thursdays during the traditional school year (typically from 12–1 p.m.), from November through May.
Lunch costs $8 (gratuity not included), and all proceeds go back into the program. Those interested in making reservations should call (916) 228-2039.