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UNH Gourmet Dinner Provides Industry Experience Beyond Academia with a Local Mindset

Department of Hospitality Management presents first Gourmet Dinner fall semester 2009, to give students the opportunity to showcase fundamentals learned at the Whittemore School of Business and Economics 

Durham, NH, September 20, 2009– University of New Hampshire (UNH) students embrace the challenge of creating a fine dining event on a budget as a nonprofit venture. Every semester, Advanced Food and Beverage students in the Hospitality Management program organize two gourmet dinners that serve between 100 and 200 guests each night.

The experience gives students a glimpse of what is to come in their future after graduation, as they take full responsibility for budgeting, service standards, marketing, sustainable practices and ethics surrounding a high-end event. The exercise is a project that accompanies an intensive capstone lecture. And the students are expected to develop a theme and menu that will capture guest interest within the targeted demographic.

Students in the advanced class are chosen for executive leadership while the remaining class members become mid-level management. The method is preparatory for real life as the students graduate and transition to upper management in hotels, inns, food establishments or other hospitality positions. The executive and management teams dedicate an immense amount of time, nearly 12 hours outside the classroom, which is difficult for a full-time student.

Introductory and intermediate hospitality freshman and sophomores work for the juniors and seniors as servers and beverage attendants. Back-of-the-house kitchen staff, from the hospitality basic culinary course, join the mix for class credit.

“We’re finding team work to be the crucial ingredient to the success of the dinner. When working with a team of different skill levels, you face large challenges especially for an event of this caliber,” notes Executive Chef Kristin Jones.

The first dinner this semester, Season to Remember, a Gourmet Homecoming Celebration will feature six courses of harvest-inspired, local when available, dishes, while capturing the excitement surrounding Homecoming weekend at UNH.

The dinner will take place at Stillings, 20 Ballard Drive, Durham, NH, on October 9, beginning with cocktail hour at 6 o’clock and dinner to follow. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online at www.wsbe.unh.edu/gourmet-dinners.

The Department of Hospitality Management at UNH combines business fundamentals as well as classes geared toward the service industry sector. Hands-on education proves to be a strong and integral part of the experiential and academic curriculum.

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