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The Collegian

The Collegian

Practical, tasty experience: Culinary Arts’ Friday Bistro

Culinary arts faculty member Robert Hansen and sophomore Urim Lee discuss plating options. Photo: Molly Waits

Students can support each other in many ways. They can watch student-produced plays, walk through student art shows or attend music recitals. But there’s another way to support students that may seem a little unusual: eating.

First semester, the sophomore practicum class in the culinary arts department opens the Bistro, a sit-down style restaurant that operates during certain Friday lunch hours throughout the semester.

“Bistro is the practical part of the practicum class,” said Chef Robert Hansen of the culinary arts faculty. “It’s the outlet we use to teach students the practical aspects of running a restaurant,” he said. “It’s as close as we can get to real world experience without opening an actual restaurant.”

For anyone who comes to Bistro on Fridays, they’ll see a finished product, a high-quality imitation restaurant, bustling with cooks and customers eagerly awaiting the fresh food.

But a lot of work goes into opening Bistro. The 12 students who make up the practicum class begin preparing for Bistro several days in advance. Just as it would be if they owned their own restaurant, these students also have catering projects they must complete in addition to their Bistro responsibilities, making their experience realistically hectic like real chefs.

Each week the students learn different skills. By the end of the semester they will be experienced in all aspects of the job of running a restaurant, having learned everything from waiting tables, to seating customers, to preparing food.

Bistro is open from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Fridays and offers both dine-in and take-out options.

After society on Fridays, a line of students forms by Bistro, which is located across the street from the University Cleaners, and down the street from BJA. As soon as the doors are open, customers receive a menu featuring a great range of dishes, such as French dip, goat cheese ravioli, as well as soups and salads. The price for Bistro is another perk. With entrees starting at $4.50 and salads priced at $2.50, students can keep both their stomachs and wallets full.

“It was a great break from the usual college food,” said Bekah Gabert, a freshman creative writing major, who said she fully enjoyed her experience at Bistro.

With the chance to support fellow students and enjoy a great meal at a reasonable price, students have plenty of reasons to try Bistro. “Students support each other by going to music concerts or going to see each other’s art work,” Hansen said. “Culinary students need that same kind of support too — plus, you can get a great meal in the process.”

Bistro will be open every Friday until Thanksgiving break, so there are three more opportunities to visit, and support, culinary arts students.

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Practical, tasty experience: Culinary Arts’ Friday Bistro