By Denise DuBois
John Chapiewski and his culinary arts students at Central High School wowed school administration and community members last week as they hosted a private grand opening of the Brick Beastro – the school’s culinary arts restaurant and catering business. The smell of barbecue ribs and grilled onions and peppers filled the dining room as guests made their plates in the buffet-style line. Students offered delicious cuisine to include quesadillas, Cajun-style sausage and shrimp with peppers and rice, buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese, ribs and their very own brick oven pizza. Before lunch was served, students offered hors d’oeuvres like grilled shrimp and deconstructed gyros.
“We promote the new menu and the kids themselves. We want to show off what the kids are doing,” Chapiewski said of the private opening. “The menu is written by the students. We have a lot of sandwiches, brick oven pizza, seafood, salmon and shrimp. For a high school program, the menu is very eclectic.”
The opening on Thursday was a way to prepare the students for the public opening this week. The restaurant is open to the general public Wednesday through Friday from 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. While reservations aren’t necessary, Chapiewski asks that larger groups call the Career Tech Center to let the restaurant know they’re coming.
“These are still students leaning and can get a little flustered, as can I,” Chapiewski laughed. “A lot of these students want to become chefs and open their own restaurants. What I hope they take away from this is real like experience and how food service works. They’re not just learning how to cook, but how to handle pressure when money is involved. This isn’t just a classroom environment anymore. This is business.”
As for diners, Chapiewski hopes they will enjoy the food and appreciate the hard work the kids experience in the kitchen.
In addition to cooking for lunch, the culinary arts program offers catering. The team has catered weddings as well as past events for the Chamber of Commerce and the Phenix City Mayor.
“They do quite an amazing job,” Chapiewski said.
For more information about catering or stopping by for lunch, call the Career Tech Center at 334-298-7583.