Courtesy Activate Allen County
Recently both the Garden Café at Apollo Career Center and Spartan Inn at Lima Senior High School have partnered with Activate Allen County. Both of these high schools have culinary programs where high school students are receiving top-notch training in the culinary field. This includes learning culinary terminology, cooking techniques, sanitation and safety, food and beverage cost control, kitchen management and supervision, and customer service/guest relations. These students also have the opportunity to get hands on experience running a restaurant style environment. This involves everything from prepping the menu, serving customers, managing day-to-day operations, and developing the skills it takes to one-day work in the culinary industry.
Activate Allen County and both organizations have partnered together to increase promotion and the visibility of the nutritious options available at both of these restaurants. The Garden Café and the Spartan Inn both have a large fresh salad bar and is open to the public. This includes fresh lettuce, a large variety of fresh cut vegetables, fresh fruit options, beans, low fat cottage cheese and low fat salad dressings. The hot bar options vary from day to day, but everything is made from scratch, so it is already a better option than the highly processed foods that so many of us consume on a regular basis. According to Misty Lee, instructor for the culinary program at Lima Senior; “Part of our program is making sure that our students understand the benefit of cooking from scratch from a nutritional point of view as well as a taste point of view. All of our food is made here and we are proud to be serving food that is automatically better for you than what you get off the shelf because it is from scratch.”
In addition to healthy options in their restaurants both Lee and Carrie Hamilton, instructor for the culinary program at Apollo Career Center, have partnered on a project called “Cooking for a Change.” This program was brought to Allen County through a grant from the US Conference of Mayors and provides for the students in these respective programs to go into our community and teach nutritious cooking classes to our residents. Hamilton explains; “It is great to be able to empower our youth with the knowledge and skills about cooking and nutritious eating and then send them out to help spread that education in the community through various activities. We are excited about the opportunities that Cooking for Change provides.”
We are excited to continue to work with the Garden Café and the Spartan Inn within our Active Menu Challenge as well as the Cooking for Change Program. The Garden Café at Apollo is open for lunch between 10:30-12:30 pm every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The Spartan Inn is open for lunch from 10:30-12:30 pm every Tuesday and Wednesday. Both restaurants feature a buffet with salad, hot bar and desserts for a modest price. We encourage everyone to come out and enjoy lunch at both of these restaurants in the near future! More information about these programs and restaurants can be found on each school’s respective website.