Frequently Asked Questions
1. Which food events at the Culinary Arts Center are open to the public?
Our most popular, public food events are our series of Open Kitchen meals, which are served in the dining room of our Culinary Arts Center during the fall and spring semesters. The meals feature a multi-course menu of classic dishes prepared by student chefs. Meals are served during the week and are scheduled to coincide with our students’ culinary arts classes. For a schedule of meal dates, times and menus, or to make dining reservations, please visit Dining at the Culinary Arts Center. Please note that once reservations are closed, the meal will no longer be featured as an availble option.
Information about special events open to the public, such as fundraisers or MCC-related functions, will be advertised on the home page of the MCC website and on the Dining at the Culinary Arts Center web page.
2. Are the Open Kitchen meals really prepared, cooked and served by MCC’s Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts students?
Yes, MCC’s Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts students are responsible for preparing, cooking and serving the Open Kitchen meals at the Culinary Arts Center. Staging and executing these meals provides students with real world, hands-on training, which is an integral part of our culinary arts curriculum. Chef instructors carefully coordinate and supervise all meals. Students plan the menus, purchase the food, manage their fellow classmates and serve you in the dining room. Students are evaluated and graded based on their ability to meet the standards we set as part of this learning experience. We appreciate and thank you for joining us and for contributing to this educational process by participating as guests at our luncheons.
3. What type of food is served at the Open Kitchen meals, and what is the cost?
The Open Kitchen meals at the Culinary Arts Center typically feature a prix-fixe menu, a multi-course meal at a fixed price. Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts students plan, budget, cook and serve the meals. Each menu with all its courses is featured on our Dining at the Culinary Arts Center web page, which is also where you can go to make your meal reservations. The meal cost is $8 per person for lunch and $12 per person for dinner.
4. How do I make dining reservations to attend the Open Kitchen meals?
Guests can make reservations to attend any of the meals prepared by student chefs and served at our Culinary Arts Center by visiting our Dining at the Culinary Arts Center Web page. Dining availability, dates, times and menus are featured on this page. Please note that once reservations are closed, the meal will no longer be featured as an available option.
5. Are dining reservations required for the Open Kitchen meals?
Yes, dining reservations are required at all of our meals. Because of the popularity of our meals and the limited number of seats, we require that all guests make advanced dining reservations. In fact, we suggest that guests make their reservations as early as possible because most of the meals served at the Culinary Arts Center sell out quickly. We do not accept walk-in guests. Hospitality Manangement and Culinary Arts students plan, budget, cook and serve the meals based on advanced reservations. To make dining reservations and to view our menus, please visit our Dining at the Culinary Arts Center Web page.
6. When do you publish the dates, times and menus for the Open Kitchen meals?
Our meals are served during the students’ fall and spring semesters (meals are not served during the summer). Dates, times and menus for our meals are made available to the public at the beginning of each semester (the first week of September for the fall semester and the first week of February for the spring semester). We recommend that guests interested in making dining reservations check our Dining at the Culinary Arts Center Web page for more information.
7. Once I have reservations for the Open Kitchen meals, how do I locate the Culinary Arts Center?
All of our Open Kitchen meals are served in the dining room of our Culinary Arts Center, which is located on the second floor of the Lowe Student Services Center. Directions to our Culinary Arts Center can be found on the MCC website in the Directions & Maps section.
8. Do you offer Open Kitchen meals on weekends?
We typically do not offer meals on weekends. Students attend classes during the week, and our meals are incorporated into our culinary arts students’ class schedules. What’s more, the majority of our students work at local restaurants, hotels and foodservice facilities on the weekends, which means a lot of students are not available on Saturdays or Sundays.
9. Can I hire the services of your students, or use your Culinary Arts Center facilities to host an event or function for my group or organization?
We do not have the resources or the equipment to service private functions, such as weddings, but groups or organizations are welcome to contact us to discuss the possibility of making arrangements to tie one of your events or functions into one of our Open Kitchen meals or one of our catering classes. For more information about how you can tie your event or function into one of our Open Kitchen meals or a catering class, please refer to the questions below.
a. Can I reserve the entire dining room of available seats at one of the Open Kitchen meals for my group or organization?
We invite you to contact us to discuss the possibility of using one of our Open Kitchen meals for the exclusive use of your group or organization. We conduct our meals to coincide with our students’ culinary arts classes; therefore, only certain days of the week are available. To reserve the entire dining room, you will need a minimum of 40 to 50 guests. We are able to serve between 40 to 90 guests, depending on the level of the class. The cost for each person ranges from $8 to $12 and is determined based on your menu selection. As expected, our menu prices are discounted for groups doing business related to the mission of our college.
b. Can you cater events on-campus at the Culinary Arts Center?
We cater a limited number of events on-campus to coincide with our students’ catering classes. Similar to our Open Kitchen meals, this type of event has to be held during our students’ scheduled class times. The catering class meets one day a week. Exactly when the catering class is in session alternates from semester to semester—one semester the class meets during the day, which means we are available to cater your event during the day, and the following semester, the catering class meets in the evening, which means we are available to cater your event in the evening. These catered events can accommodate between 50 to 90 guests, depending on the type of food served and the number of students in the class. As part of the learning experience, students work with a local group or organization (their “clients”) and plan—from start to finish—a catered event, which is held in our Culinary Arts Center. Under the direction of a chef instructor, students assist their clients with selecting a menu and calculating the costs. Menus range from hors d’oeuvres only to a complete buffet meal.
c. I need a caterer to provide snacks for a meeting on-campus. Can the culinary arts students prepare and cook for my functions?
Our ability to provide this service depends on whether or not we can recruit enough students (paid or volunteer) to accommodate your request. The MCC Student Hospitality Association is also a possibility for providing this type of service. We will do our best to accommodate your request.
d. Can you cater events off-campus?
We do not cater private events held off-campus. We will occasionally cater off-site functions for State of Connecticut agencies and at state facilities. Overall, the department is not equipped to be an off-premise food provider.
e. How can I get more information about tying my event to your Open Kitchen meals or catering class?
If you are interested in obtaining more information about the opportunities listed above, the department chairperson, Jayne Pearson, accepts email requests from groups and organizations during the semester preceding the semester in which you are interested in hosting your event.
Please contact her and include your name, the name of the group or organization, the estimated number of guests, several dates that would accommodate your schedule, and any other important information regarding your request. We look forward to receiving your request, and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.