Do you know what ‘in the juice’ means?
You do if you’re in the restaurant business.
That means you’re very busy.
In the kitchen, you might be cooking dishes in record speed with sparks flying off your knives.
In the serving area, you might be one step shy of running, while serving several tables simultaneously and remembering the three customers who have food allergies. Practically every day, at lunch and dinner, about 25 students are in the juice at the Humber Room and their future employers will thank them for it. The only full-service restaurant on campus, this 110-seat restaurant is a living classroom, serving students, faculty and administrators.
The students do everything, stressed Kristy Adams, a Program Coordinator and Professor with Humber’s Hospitality Management program. “We’ve got our purchasing and cost control students looking at the menu sales, we have our nutrition students overseeing the nutritional content of the menu, our culinary students are developing the menu,” she said. On a busy lunch or dinner shift, the Humber Room is jumping. And that’s when the hospitality management, event management and culinary students really learn their trade. “The students get to live and breathe what it’s going to be like out there,” said Kristy. “It’s exciting, it’s exhilarating and it can also be very stressful. But the skills they learn in the Humber Room get them prepared for their careers, and certainly sets the pace for their internship placements.”
Though you would never know it as you feast on your dish, the learning starts long before and well after you’ve eaten.
“There’s a taste test every day,” said Kristy. “The back of the house prepares the menu items and the students get to taste everything so they become familiar with the menu and be able to genuinely recommend dishes.”
“The students also get to debrief after service,” she continued. “The faculty member in charge goes over how service went that day, what the challenges were, and what can be done better.”
What also makes the Humber Room unique is its dual identity – part fine-dining, part gastro-pub.
“We decided to change the restaurant model…it’s now 40 per cent casual fine-dining and 60 per cent gastro pub,” said Kristy. “Now the students are eating here and it’s become a substantial revenue generator for Humber because of that.”
“And the menu is fantastic,” added Kristy, noting that it definitely suits students with all entrées $10 or less. And you need to hurry to make your next class? No problem. The Humber Room can have you in and out in 45 minutes.
But just because it’s fast, it doesn’t mean it’s not healthy.
“We’re very conscious of the nutritional value of our food,” stressed Kristy. With so many Humber programs that focus on fitness, sports, health and nutrition, the menu is fit for those who pursue a healthy lifestyle.
Kristy also considers the Humber Room to be a bit of a trailblazer, as just in the last year there’s a growing trend in major cities like New York for restaurants to offer two types of dining under one roof.
“We did it last year, so we’re a bit ahead of that curve,” said Kristy. “But we did it initially to give the students better opportunities – the busier we are, the better the experience everybody gets.”
That includes employers who love Humber grads with Humber Room experience. They’re impressed with the students’ skills, as well as their ability to be calm under pressure.
“Ours is very much an experienced-based industry,” said Kristy. “If we don’t have these types of living classrooms, it doesn’t get the students fully prepared.”