MARLBOROUGH – Logan Powers placed the finishing touches on some teriyaki salmon.
With Chef Margo Wilson watching, Powers garnished the top of the finished entrée, while Wilson scooped some fresh-roasted vegetables in between the salmon.
Powers is not a sous chef (at least, not yet) – he is a third-year culinary arts student at Assabet Valley Regional High School, and this was one of the days where he honed his skills at the student-run Epicurean Restaurant.
“You’re always busy,” said Logan. “There’s something fun to do every day.”
For three days a week, Culinary Arts students learn the ins and outs of running a restaurant – planning a menu, learning recipes, cooking, serving customers and more. Students said they liked the experience and what they got to learn.
“We’re training the students,” said Jessica Bengtson, who’s been a culinary instructor for nine years. “The best part is to be able to see the reactions of students when they complete their tasks on their own.”
In addition to serving lunch, the “Epi” serves breakfast a couple of times a month. Students and staff also make lunches to go, and they provide catering for special events.
For example, the teriyaki salmon prepped by Powers and Wilson was heading to the nearby Better Day Adult Social Program.
“They order from us frequently,” said Wilson.
Chef Louis Trudeau (known as “Chef T”) added that the “Epi” has also provided meals for the Westborough and Marlborough Rotary clubs.
Teaching with COVID-19 on the side
When the pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, the Culinary Arts program, like every other program at school, had to learn to deal with face masks, social distancing and other restrictions.
“It stunk,” said Trudeau.
Students learned to make grab-and-go meals for Assabet staff; they also learned via Zoom classes, as well as how-to displays created with the help of the school’s design and visual department. The design students created the restaurant’s menus, business cards and posters.
“We have a great collaboration,” said Trudeau.
Now that COVID-19 has receded, Trudeau would like to let people know that the “Epi” is up and running and ready to serve.
“This is a hidden gem people don’t know about,” he said.
The Epicurean Restaurant is open to the public and Assabet staff on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 10:50 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. when school is in session.
On the first and third Wednesdays from 9 to 11:45 a.m., there is a breakfast buffet with a waffle station, bacon, sausage, potatoes and fruit, all for $10 per person, plus tax.
On the second Wednesday of the month from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., there is a lunch buffet, with two entrees, potato, salad, vegetables, salad bar, soup station, desserts and rolls for $12 per person, plus tax.
On Fridays, prime rib is available for $12 per person, plus tax.
Take-out is available. Payment may be made with cash, checks or credit cards.
Reservations are recommended; call 508-485-9430 ext. 1119, or visit www.assabet.org/Give-Back/Services-Open-to-The-Public/Epicurean-Restaurant/index.html.
The “Epi” also offers catering.
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