Outfitted in crisp, white monogrammed jackets and chef hats, students practice making poached pear salad, preparing braised beef tenderloin, and rolling out a pie crust. Experiential learning is the raison d’être for WSU’s Marriott Foundation Hospitality Teaching Center. Its production-style kitchen hosts “labs” for hospitality business management classes multiple times a week.
The kitchen is where academic lessons in hospitality business management come to life. Students develop practical skills that equip them to handle real-world challenges of running a food-service enterprise.
A COOK’S PARADISE
It’s hard to imagine a more ideal teaching environment. Four teaching stations each provide students with a full range of professional, restaurant-grade equipment. As Executive Chef Jamie Callison demonstrates techniques, students observe through an overhead viewing mirror. Cameras in the kitchen capture demonstrations and present them to students in the adjacent dining room.
The teaching kitchen was created with a generous $1.5 million gift from the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation. It’s all about the Marriott tradition of “creating opportunities for young people,” said Marriott Foundation executive director Anne Gunsteens.
Callison serves up those opportunities with panache. A certified executive chef and inducted member of the American Culinary Association (ACA), he shares his expertise with boundless enthusiasm. His patient teaching style ensures that students reap the greatest benefit from their time in his class. He floats from one cooking station to another, quietly guiding and reassuring his young managers-to-be.
Photo by E.J. Armstrong, Armstrong Pitts Studio
The Crimson Spoon: Plating Regional Cuisine on the Palouse, makes fine cooking as approachable as Callison himself. It’s filled with “recipes that readers can relate to,” Callison said. Ingredients are easy to find. The tone never condescends.
Most important, the results satisfy and delight. The cookbook features gourmet dishes and recipes that are perennial guest favorites at WSU events, such as the annual Feast of the Arts dinner series.
SPOTLIGHT ON LOCAL INGREDIENTS
The Crimson Spoon transforms the bounty of the Palouse region into delectable treats for the palate. It features foods that are locally grown and produced. “Local” often means produced right on campus.
The book extols the tasty virtues of Cougar cheese made at the WSU Creamery, tender beef from the Ensiminger Beef Center, ice cream churned at Ferdinand’s Ice Cream Shoppe, fruit picked at the Tukey Horticulture Orchard, and vegetables grown at the Eggert Family Organic Farm.
Callison’s classes emphasize use of local foods as well. As students develop their management acumen and culinary artistry, they also deepen their appreciation for the region they call home. It’s Callison’s recipe for Cougar Pride.
“Ingredients should be your biggest inspiration,” Callison says. “Start with great ingredients, apply simple techniques, and magic happens.”