Did you know that instead of eating the peanut butter and jelly sandwich you brought for lunch, you could have pumpkin ravioli with brown butter and fried sage leaves, followed by grilled beef steak with balsamic glaze polenta and Tuscan kale, all for under $15? If you’re still not full, you could finish with a piece of “Pick Me Up” Tiramisu, a coffee-soaked cake with marscarpone custard and chocolate shavings. That is only $2.95.
Are you hungry yet? At Seattle Central Community College’s Square One Bistro, you play guinea pig to Seattle Culinary Academy students as they practice their form and learn to cook sustainable, international five-star cuisine. The restaurant is completely open to the public. In fact, curriculum requirements include a new restaurant role every quarter – every student starts as a busser and dishwasher first quarter, completing the six-week program a kitchen manager and sous chef.
Square One Bistro opens 11:15 a.m. and closes at 1 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. There is lots of development and change going on, including construction of a whole new kitchen and dining room for 5th and 6th quarter students, under construction now.
Right now, the bistro is featuring Italian cuisine. The menu rotates every two weeks and students get the opportunity to practice international techniques. While a faculty chef advises the students and has ultimate control of the restaurant, student sous chefs create the menus and run the kitchen. There are even “mystery box” competitions like on Top Chef, where students are tested by random groups of ingredients.
Another staple to the Square One Bistro is the “Yin-Yang ‘Healing’ Menu,” which features ‘yin’ dishes to promote calming and ‘yang’ dishes for energy and vitality. Not only do they offer high-class entrees like salmon and duck strudel (each just $7), but a interesting item called a “beast feast,” which features a ‘cut of the day at market price.’ The students prepare the cut from the whole animal, a training in sustainability.
Next quarter, Seattle Culinary Academy will be adding homemade cheese plates to their menu – the cheese making class will premiere next quarter. Should go nicely with the freshly baked bread the students prepare every week.
The Buzz, a SCCC student coffee house located to the side of the Broadway Ave. door entrance, also features creations from the Culinary Academy pastry students. The shop opens at 9:30 a.m. and closes around 4:30 p.m. They also make espresso and smoothie drinks, just in case a lunch of tea smoked duck strudel with roasted mushroom jus wasn’t enough.