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Culinary Café Marks Milestone Anniversary

Student-Run Restaurant Celebrates 25 Years of Success

Culinary students posing with staff

On Thursday, March 21, 2024, there was a buzz of excitement at Leo A. Palmiter Jr./Sr. High School as elected officials, staff, and community members came together to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Culinary Café. This student-run restaurant has not just become a cornerstone of the school's career technical education program; it has also ignited a passion for creativity, service, and community among its patrons and participants alike.

Since its inaugural lunch service on January 21, 1999, the Culinary Café has provided hundreds of students with invaluable job experience, connections with industry professionals, and a platform to showcase their skills. The program, which aims to guide at-promise students to success, has been a driving force behind the school's commitment to empowering students.

Guests at the anniversary celebration were treated to a special lunch featuring sauerbraten (beef roast) with braised red cabbage, potato pancakes, and cake for dessert. Principal Lauren Roth, Sacramento County Superintendent David W. Gordon, retired SCOE Vocational Specialist Michael Laharty, and former student Sabrina Medina were among the guest speakers.

Superintendent Gordon praised the Culinary Café for its role in preparing students for the professional world, highlighting its impact on students' job readiness and social skills. He also recognized the dedication of Palmiter staff and administrators who have supported the program over the years.

Sabrina Medina, a former student who participated in the Culinary Café's inaugural class in 1999 and is now a successful property manager in El Dorado County, spoke fondly of her experience. "This program helped me learn real-world skills and gain confidence in myself," said Medina. "I was motivated to thrive, and throughout my life I've been able to use that."

As the Culinary Café celebrates its 25th Anniversary, the Leo A. Palmiter Jr./Sr. High School community looks forward to continuing its legacy of empowering students and preparing them for future success.

Chef Hazelton helping students plate food
Dave Gordon and Bina Lefkovitz
Lauren Roth posing with former students