|A young female server pours coffee, holding a saucer at the lip of the cup to ensure no splashing. A group of fellow servers lines the wall, arms behind their backs in military fashion, keeping tabs on their tables.
“Hello, sir, is everything to your liking today?” another young host asks a diner. “If there’s anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to ask.”
Around the dining room, which boasts white linens and polished silverware, patrons feast on house-cured salmon with wasabi cream, risotto with shaved fennel, seared scallops in a wild mushroom ragout, seared duck breast and other gourmet delicacies.
While this may seem like a four-star, Zagat-rated restaurant, it’s actually a cafe at Atlantic Cape Community College: Careme’s. The entire staff, inside the kitchen and on the dining room floor, consists of Academy of the Culinary Arts students being graded on everything they do, right down to replacing every used utensil.
Careme’s is just one aspect of a bustling, impressive and difficult culinary program that future chefs and hospitality managers rely on to launch their careers.