Lunch at Mission College’s Mission Bistro on Thursday, Oct. 13 came with a variety of items, including fragrant and tender garlic thyme chicken, peanut butter cookies with gooey melted chocolate and soothing and warm ginger chicken mushroom soup. The campus restaurant was packed for lunch, which was prepared by only nine students in Quantity Foods, a course in the community college’s Hospitality Management program. Here, each student has a specific job whenever the restaurant opens.
Mission Bistro offers cafeteria-style dining in the fall and a full-service restaurant in the spring.
“This is our first capstone class where students apply what they’ve learned throughout the Hospitality Management program,” says Haze Dennis, chair of the Hospitality Management department. “In our program, students come from diverse backgrounds. For example, we get transplants from healthcare, high-tech, and manufacturing.”
Chef instructor Daniel Arias remembers a student who was working for UPS when he took a Hospitality Management class for fun and ended up completing the program’s coursework.
“My student worked for Blowfish Sushi and one of the Michael Mina restaurants,” Arias says. “He went on to become one of the four founding chefs of Munchery.” (Munchery is a company that specializes in ready-to-prepare meals for home cooks.)
Student Ramiro Mijaves, who set up the salad bar and served food at the Mission Bistro, worked at a moving company for about six years. He initially began working for the San Jose Giants in a cleaning job.
“The San Jose Giants moved me onto being their cook when their other cook quit,” Mijaves says. “I offered to give it a try and found that I liked it. I liked that the work as a cook was less repetitive and let me be creative.”
Student Cherry Huang, who managed the restaurant’s operations, once worked in the fashion industry as a purchaser for a small company. But she had always loved cooking and received positive feedback from friends for her food.
“I decided I wanted to work in the culinary industry,” Huang says. “Fashion is related to cooking because appearance is important in fashion and it is also important in food. We use simple plates here and we try to create attractive plates of food from them.”
Of course, there are participants in the Hospitality Management program who do come from a background in food.
“I am a part-time cake decorator at Paris Baguette,” says student Cailey Acosta, who prepared sandwiches and chopped salad ingredients in the pantry before lunch. “I came to Mission College because this program offers more hands-on cooking experience.”
The Mission Bistro is located on the Mission College campus at 3000 Mission College Blvd. Visit http://missioncollege.edu/depts/food/bistro.html for details on the restaurant’s open dates, service hours and upcoming menus.