Students hosting theme dinners at Café Laura throughout the fall semester

October 02, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — If you’re looking for a fine-dining experience without that fine-dining price, hospitality management students in Advanced Food Production and Management, also known as HM 430, can help.

Throughout the fall semester, students in HM 430, the senior-level capstone class for hospitality management majors, will be hosting theme dinners at Café Laura, Penn State’s student-run, on-campus restaurant located in the Mateer Building. Through the dinners students gain hands-on, real-world experience in learning the ins and outs of running an actual restaurant.

The theme dinners are presented by teams of students who plan, prepare and serve a four-course meal. While the students benefit from the experience, members of the Penn State and State College communities who support them in their efforts benefit in the form of a quality meal at a reasonable price.

This semester’s themes range from cuisine from the Italian Riviera, to American cuisine inspired by the I-95 corridor, to a fresh seasonal menu simply called, “Root.”

Inspired by the flavors of fall, patrons attending Root’s opening on Oct. 21, for example, will find a menu filled with simple, rustic meals, things like butternut squash and apple bisque, roasted pork with carrot romesco, and poached pear a la mode.

For individuals desiring the flavors of the Gulf, students have planned a menu based on cuisine inspired by Florida, Louisiana and Texas — with entrees such as pan seared diver scallops, Cajun cream pasta, and grilled rib eye.

Each team develops a business plan that covers everything from menus, recipes, pricing, job descriptions, accounting and marketing. Prices typically range from $4-7 for appetizers, $14-$24 for entrees, and $4-$6 for desserts. Tips are not accepted due to the fact that the dinners are conducted as an educational experience, but a 14 percent service charge is added to each check to help students defray the expense of uniforms, decorations, and other costs involved with the class.

For a full list of theme dinners or to book a reservation, visit Café Laura online or call 814-865-1853.

Last Updated October 05, 2015