Students learn on the job at new café

George Brown hospitality students gain practical experience at the student-run café at 300 Adelaide E

George Brown College’s (GBC) brand new student run café is under strict control by chef John Higgins, the director of chef school. Chef Higgins was trained and has served in Buckingham Palace and Michelin-starred restaurants before.

On the opening day, Oct. 17, chef Higgins led his management team: Heather Dyer, the dining room, catering and event manager for GBC and The Chefs House, chef Stuart Betteridge certified chef de cuisine (C.C.C), and chef Kyle Deming. They all kept all their eyes on every detail in the café.

Chef Higgins believed they took the café seriously saying, “it is the first cafe run by the students at George Brown. It is not only a cafe but also a place for their internships.”

“This is (the café) exactly the same as industries. Our expectations are no different than anybody else in the industry,” said chef Betteridge.

The café’s selling point is that everything is home-made. This means that all the food, including pastas, pies, pizzas, and even the sauces, dressings, condiments, stocks and jams are all made freshly every day by students.

The recipes were designed by the chef school’s faculty and professors.

“We did a lot of research. We went outside to visit colleges, the Eaton Centre and food courts downtown to see what they are doing,” said chef Betteridge. “After that, we tried to make it in a Torontonian style.”

They have weekly features such as a pork feature that will bring out two or three different pork dishes: Spanish pork steak, French meatloaf and Chinese dumplings.

“Hot plate, vegetarian, and meat dishes will be provided at every breakfast and lunch,” said chef Higgins.

The students come from the second year of the culinary management integrated learning and hospitality, and tourism and leisure programs. They will take turns working in every position of the café.

“They have to know the needs from all the positions, from the back of the kitchen to the front serving counter,” said chef Higgins.

The students don’t get paid, but they will earn credits they can put towards their program when they pass this internship. They will work 24 hours a week, which will last for seven to 14 weeks.

“The only challenge for me is we need to arrive at 6:30 in the morning,” said Hansi Weerasinghe, a student at GBC. “I really feel happy at this job because the professors are rigid, but very nice. I learned a lot of from them.”

Students can find this new café on the second floor of the St. James campus, building B at 300 Adelaide Street East. It runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m..

Cash and cards are welcome.

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Students learn on the job at new café