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North Hills, Five Points, Cameron Village and Downtown. These are the areas Raleigh foodies typically think of when deciding where next to eat out. But there’s one hidden gem for dining that’s likely never been on your radar: Flavors, located at Wake Tech’s Southern Wake Campus, on Fayetteville Road.
Flavors is a full-service restaurant operated by students in Wake Tech’s Culinary Arts, Baking and Pastry Arts, and Hospitality Management programs. It’s open both to the public and to the college community and it boasts a range of gourmet dishes, with a menu selection that changes based on whichever cuisines and techniques the students are studying in the classroom at any given time.
Students of the program prepare you a gourmet, three-course meal for just $10, a deal that almost certainly tops any other three-course offering in Raleigh. Dishes include Sautéed Pecan-Crusted Chicken Breast with Apple Jus, Duck Confit Napoleon with Figs and Turnip Puree, Goat Cheese Ravioli, and Coconut Cream Cake for dessert, to name just a few of the delectable offerings.
Wake Tech’s 30th anniversary is next year, so now is a perfect time to visit the restaurant, which was integrated into the campus in 1996, chiefly as a teaching tool for culinary arts and hospitality students. With a state-of-the-art teaching facility, Flavors connects classroom instruction with workplace experience, providing hands-on contact while allowing students to practice, and show off, the skills they’ve learned in their kitchen labs.
Two different classes are integrated into the on-campus restaurant setting. One involves food and beverage service in the hospitality industry, which both culinary and hospitality students must take, requiring students to engage in and learn about front-of-house service. The other is a culinary class in which students learn back-of-house responsibilities and how to prepare the food that’s going out to customers.
Jeff Hadley, the administrative department head of the Culinary Arts program, says on-the-job learning is a vital part of Wake Tech’s associate degree, diploma, and certificate programs in the culinary and hospitality fields. Along with working at the on-campus restaurant, culinary students must fulfill a work placement requirement that entails completing credit hours of work in their selected discipline, a total of 320 credit hours per semester. Students are well-positioned and likely to obtain full-time jobs from these internships after graduating, securing their spots in the food and beverage industry and preparing them for further advancement.
You might not know it, but many of these graduates currently work at some of your favorite local dining establishments. One of Wake Tech’s most well-known success stories is that of Caroline Morrison, the owner and founder of Fiction Kitchen, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant serving thoughtfully prepared dishes with fresh ingredients.
A vegan herself, Morrison used what she learned working with meat in her classes at Wake Tech, and applied that knowledge to non-meat items in order to curate a completely vegetarian menu.
Additionally, many Wake Tech graduates work under renowned local chef Ashley Christensen. “It’s amazing when I go out to eat and come across someone I remember from the program,” says Hadley.
There’s a lot of talent within the classroom kitchens and in the on-campus restaurant at Wake Tech, with graduates making it big in both North Carolina’s food and beverage scene and beyond. Visit Flavors to taste for yourself the talent coming out of the college’s Culinary Arts program; who knows, the dish you enjoy might just come from from a future James Beard Award-winning chef. waketech.edu/flavors
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