The much-anticipated spring edition of the student-run dining series opens on Jan. 29. Senior Hospitality Management students are charged with planning, creating and serving a three-course meal as their senior project, based on a theme of their choice.
The meals are served in the J.W. and Alice Marriott Café in Mercyhurst’s Center for Academic Engagement, taking place on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the semester.
Open to students, staff and members of the Erie community, the series offers the unique opportunity to experience fine dining on campus and support these final-year students in their culinary endeavors.
Senior Michaela Wickham will open this year’s series with her menu, “Spring Comfort.” Wickham is preparing a clementine salad, chicken pot pie and solstice cake; a lemon chiffon cake with a twist.
“I grew up making comfort foods with my mom and grandma and the food made was always the centerpiece for our huge family gatherings. I’m using a family pot pie recipe in honor of those family traditions, I created the recipe for the salad on my own. I have ambitiously planned the final course in honor of my late grandfather,” Wickham said.
Other menus over the course of the series include “A Taste of Little Italy,” “Brie Our Guest” and “An Evening on the Water.” The “007” menu will feature a wedge salad, beef wellington with potatoes au gratin and brussels sprouts and a tuxedo mousse.
Seniors Chandler Brandetsas and Mitchell Marsh have teamed up to create “Twisted Chipotle.”
Their menu is what Marsh describes as a “more upscale” version of their shared love of Chipotle cuisine, including a salsa trio starter, fish tacos and a churro cupcake to finish.
“I am excited for the Statler Department of Hospitality Management’s Spring Dining Series to kick off because it’s great to have this hands-on experience and work in the state-of-the-art Marriott Kitchen with a great group of classmates who have become teammates,” Marsh said.
On March 13, senior Claire Engle will serve her menu “From East Aurora With Love.” Featuring Swiss chard soup, grilled chicken with truffle and mushroom risotto and a flour-less double chocolate cake, Engle took inspiration from close to home.
“My meal was inspired by my hometown of East Aurora. My appetizer is my mom’s homemade recipe that really makes me think of being home and cooking with her. My entrée and dessert are actually inspired by the restaurant I work at home, and these meals are the most popular on the menu so I wanted to give everyone a little taste of where I come from,” Engle said.
Seating for the meals take place from 5 to 5:30 p.m. The cost of the three-course experience is $13 per person, including tax. Reservations are required for all meals and can be made by calling 814-824-2565.
As well as the pleasure of good food, patrons should also consider going to support the students who have worked so hard to make the events a reality.
“I’m excited for the evening because it’s the first time I’ve ever been in charge of something I’ve planned from start to finish,” Wickham said. “It’s been a lot of hard work and late nights, and more paperwork than I imagined, but to have that feeling of ‘I created this’ is amazing.”