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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Best lunch value in Annandale: The Annandale Bistro at AHS

I enjoyed a lovely lunch of fresh tilapia with capers and onions over rice Friday that was as good as anything you could get in one of the area’s better restaurants. But this meal, at the Annandale Bistro at Annandale High School, was prepared by students in the school’s culinary technology program.

The students, under the direction of teacher Christine Gloninger, known as “Chef G,” prepare lunches twice a week, mostly for school staff, who send in their orders in advance via e-mail. Lunches tend to be $10 or under, depending on what’s on the menu. 
Food prep at the Annandale Bistro

If you’ve ever been to a county reception lately, you’ve probably seen Chef G and her students providing the catering. They prepared and served food to guests at County Supervisor Sharon Bulova’s party at the Government Center at Braddock Supervisor John Cook’s Taste of Braddock event.

AHS Culinary students Lana
 Garcia (left) and Jasmin Hernandez
Members of the public can also request catering, and the students will work with the host to plan the menu, says Lana Garcia, an AHS senior in the culinary arts program.
Each week, culinary students are divided into groups, each responsible for a different aspect of food service, such as planning a meal, preparing entrees, making pastry, and cleaning up, says Garcia, who is mulling over where to go to college and hopes to run her own restaurant one day.

Chef G and student at Oak Hill
reception catered by AHS
 “I never knew how intense it could be at the front line,” Garcia says. “There needs to be a lot of communication to make sure we have enough food for our customers and to make sure everything is done on time.” The culinary program is a “great experience for students interested in learning about food service or running a business,” Garcia says.

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