Penn State’s Hospitality Management Program is one of the best. The capstone class for the major is HM430. This class places students into groups and they plan theme dinners at Cafe Laura, an on-campus restaurant in the Mateer Building. The theme dinners range from Star Wars to Mardi Gras.
One of the themes this semester was “Beauty and the Beast.” The dinner was aptly named “Be Our Guest: An Enchanted Evening of Fine French Cuisine.” The restaurant was decorated to the theme and a table was decorated to greet patrons with an enchanted rose, clock and teapot to name a few Beauty and the Beast related decorations.
“The first day of class you pick a theme and the dishes are planned around the theme. Everything is rose themed and red and white. The food is French based cuisine,” he said.
The menu included dishes like “Mrs. Potts’ French Onion Soup,” an “Enchanted Arugula Salad,” and “Lumiere’s Seafood Linguini.”
Reservations are required however, and are somewhat hard to come by. Sebastian explained that reservations open up the third week of the semester and typically fill up for each of the two theme nights two weeks before the first one. So if you want a reservation, you better get one as early as possible!
The events are great experience for students as they give them multiple duties that they might encounter in the real world. You serve as management for the theme dinner that your group prepares, but can work in the kitchen or as a server for the dinners that your other classmates are in charge of.
Sebastian’s favorite theme night was of course his own, but he thought the Star Wars night was pretty cool too.
Meals are affordable and model industry prices. “The average check is around $26-27,” Sebastian said.
While the theme dinners are great experience for Hospitality Management majors, they also make for a great night with friends. For more information about how to get involved or how to make a reservation, click here.