Accomplished chefs abound at Spice Box
January 6, 2012
URBANA — Guest chefs from as far away as Florida will share their talents in the Spice Box for another season of themed meals overseen and prepared by hospitality management majors at the University of Illinois. Many local and Chicago-area professionals will also provide guidance to the students throughout the semester.

The first meal of the 2012 Spice Box season will be held on Friday, Feb. 3. This meal, which has a Greek theme, is the first of 19 planned for the semester. The guest chef, Paul Guerrero, comes from Wildfire Restaurants in the Chicago area.

"The opportunity to work closely with industry professionals gives our students a realistic, hands-on experience in managing a restaurant and the team of individuals that comprise a successful staff," said Jill Craft, instructor of the Spice Box course.

A longstanding fixture on the U of I campus, the Spice Box, located on the second floor of Bevier Hall, is a working laboratory for students majoring in hospitality management in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN).

Additional meals feature a wide array of themes, including Brewery-Inspired Cuisine, 1900s Speakeasy, Greek/Italian Fusion, Puerto Rico, and Seafood. Many more meals will follow on Wednesday and Friday evenings throughout the semester.

"The students are offering a broad spectrum of themes and menus that provide diners with a variety of opportunities otherwise not found in this area," Craft said.

A complete list of the dates of the meals, meal themes, and guest chefs is available on the Spice Box website at Full menus will be posted there as they become available. Interested persons can also be placed on an e-mail list that will keep them informed about upcoming offerings by contacting

Each dining event offers either a four-course meal, including salad, appetizer, featured entrée, and dessert, or a two-course salad and entree combination. A specialty alcoholic beverage and a regular wine list are also offered. Price varies according to menu, and the meals are available by reservation only. Reservations are available at 5, 5:30, 6, 6:30, 7, and 7:30 p.m.

To reserve seating for any of these fine dining experiences, call 217-333-6520.