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Student's Restaurant Dream Comes True
Eric Langenfeld's dream to have his own restaurant came true on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 5 p. m. when the doors opened to America’s Street Fair in the Spice Box at Bevier Hall. Eric is a senior studying hospitality management and the following is a blog of his reflections from his capstone project.
The night was a tour of tastes across the United States. The night started with the grilled sandwiches from Oregon to the papaya salad from the San Francisco to the entrees from Miami to the Dessert Dog from Chicago. Those people who saved room for dessert were in for a real treat that was an idea created from an intern group I was a part of over the summer. The idea was a gourmet dessert dog with a french toast style bun, a roasted banana, berries, whip cream and chocolate. I took on the challenge of taking that dessert from just an idea to actually putting it on a plate. For me, the good sign was every dessert plate going back empty. My classmates did an excellent job with their courtesy and speed of service and no customers had major complaints.
Before 5 p. m. hit, there were a few minor roadblocks in the kitchen but we were able to come up with proper solutions and learn from them. I wanted to challenge myself with this meal so I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. This was an amazing opportunity and I could not have been happier with what I learned from this meal.
The list of people I need to thank is very large because this meal was inspired and executed by so many individuals. I have been talking over ideas for my meal with people for over two years now and my meal has developed and grown from all those ideas. First, I would like to thank all the guests who attended my meal because my motivation was to put smiles on your faces and have you enjoy a relaxing night out in our home. I would especially like to thank President Bob Easter and his wife Cheryl for attending my meal. I sat behind them at Illini basketball games this year, and during our last home game against Michigan, I gave them a personal invitation to my meal because of their positive influence on my education. I was lucky enough to speak with Dr. and Mrs. Easter during my Sophomore year after I decided I would be switching into hospitality management. He truly motivated me with is passion and dedication for education and his past work in the College of ACES has greatly affected where our program is today.
I would also like to thank my guest chef Ben Werner for all his help with menu development and testing and also for smoothly executing the kitchen operations during dinner service. Additionally, I would like to thank Kathleen Hudson and Jeremiah Murphy, my service and production managers, for all their help preparing and executing the meal. They both paid attention to small details ahead of time so the night was able to run smoothly and successfully. Thank you to everyone who was a part of this truly memorable night.