The first week’s menu includes pork medallions with chili-maple sauce; blackened tilapia with sweet and sour orange sauce; four cheese and spinach lasagna; chicken with roasted lemons, green olives and capers; Southern-style scalloped potatoes; sautéed green beans with tomatoes and basil; and black bean, water chestnut and grilled corn salad.
Eight students — some who already have plenty of restaurant and business experience on their resumes — are enrolled in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism 445, the advanced food production and service management class that plans and operates the café. ARAMARK, UT’s provider of dining services, prepares the food.
The students running this semester’s café are:
- Tamer El-Adawy, a senior in hotel, restaurant and tourism management. He has worked in the hospitality industry for about 12 years and runs his own catering business, Broaden Your Palette.
- Jennifer Lee, a junior in nutrition. She graduated in August with the charter class of UT’s Culinary Institute and is now attending bartending school.
- Crystal Misemer, a senior in hotel, restaurant and tourism management. She is the corporate contracts coordinator with the United Residence Hall Council (URHC) and has been involved with Orientation Leaders, Peer Mentors and Campus Entertainment Board.
- Jo Overton, a senior majoring in political science with minors in hotel, restaurant and tourism management and business. She plans to attend culinary school after graduating with hopes of opening a restaurant near the water on the east coast.
- Christy Powell, a senior majoring in nutrition.
- Sarah Sudduth, a senior in nutrition. She hopes to attend culinary school after graduation.
- David Wise, a junior in the hotel, restaurant and tourism management. He is part-owner of a brick-oven bakery in Johnson City, Tenn., called Scratch Foodworks.
- Terry Williams, a junior in hotel, restaurant and tourism management. He owns a small catering business and also works for ARAMARK Catering.
The Ready for the World Café is open from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each Monday through Thursday in the Hermitage Room on the third floor of the University Center.
Diners pay $11 for the all-you-can-eat buffet or $9 for a plate of food to carry out.
“The Ready for the World Café has been growing in popularity each semester. Our crowds have grown and the enthusiasm of our students has grown, as well,” said Donetta Cummings Poisson, HRT 445 instructor. “We have a tremendous, and very experienced, group of students this semester. I expect them to be excellent young restaurateurs.
“The café provides our students with a tremendous hands-on learning experience. At the same time, it provides a unique lunch option for faculty, staff and students. If you haven’t been to the café, please come give it a try.”