‘Touch of Class’ offers New Year’s buffet

Briana Deacon, a sophomore at Elk Lake, is learning valuable skills as a server in the foods program at the Susquehanna County Career and Technology program, here serving up prime rib at the school’s ‘Touch of Class’ restaurant. STAFF PHOTO/ROBERT BAKER

BY ROBERT L. BAKER

Want to have good luck in the New Year, but don’t want to have to fuss with making pork and sauerkraut?

‘A Touch of Class’ restaurant in Dimock may have just the thing for you.

Operated by students in the Food Services program at the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center, under the supervision of instructors David Dunster and Jill Wiedmaier, ‘A Touch of Class will be offering a New Year’s Buffet next Thursday, Jan. 3, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In addition to the New Year’s Day tradition of Roasted Pork Loin with Sauerkraut, other entrees will include Beef Stroganoff over noodles, Sticky Chicken (a deep fried chicken coated with sweet pecan glaze), roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and steamed fresh vegetables.

The meal will start with cream of broccoli soup, mixed greens with assorted toppings and dressings, and fresh rolls and butter.

And, to conclude the feast will be an array of assorted desserts for your dining pleasure prepared by our student pastry chef, Wiedmaier said just before Christmas.

She noted that a Christmas Buffet on Dec. 18 was quite popular and filled up fast with a maximum of 75-80 guests allowed to be served for any one buffet.

A Touch of Class also had two earlier buffets for the public: an Opening Day one on Sept. 20 and a Thanksgiving one on Nov. 15.

In the New Year, there will also be a Valentine’s Buffet on Feb. 14, a Fat Tuesday Buffet on March 5, and an Easter Buffet on March 26.

Reservations are required and should be made at least a week in advance by calling 278-6785 or 278-9229. ext. 6401.

There are a couple of catches: one is that some buffets fill up fast, and the second is that if Elk Lake School and SCCTC are closed for the weather, the restaurant will not be open.

Now if you’d rather just order off the menu, ‘A Touch of Class’ and the ‘Serfass Solarium’ will be open for lunch (11 a.m.-1 p.m.) on Jan. 8-10, 15-17, 23-24, and 29-30; Feb. 5-7, 12-13, 20-21, and 26-27; Mar. 6-7, 12-14, and 19-21; April 3-4, 16-18, 23-24, and 30; and May 1-2.

And for those steak lovers out there who would like to sink your teeth into a generous prime rib, that is the only thing served up on the menu on Jan. 31, Feb. 28, Mar. 21, and Apr. 25.

So, who does all the cooking and food prep?

Wiedmaier said that while she and Dunster have years of experience working in restaurants and kitchens, and pretty much create the menus, the students do the bulk of the work.

This year there are 54 students in the foods program, and they go through a 2-week rotation, with one group actually working in the kitchen wile the other is in the classroom.

This provides an opportunity to talk about the science and economics of working with foods, Wiedmaier said, while the kitchen work is a serious dose of reality.

“I love it,” Briana Deacon, a sophomore Elk Lake student who is taking the foods course, said the Thursday before Christmas as she was serving Prime Rib to a lot of apparently satisfied customers.

Deacon said she wants to one day open her own restaurant, and loves the atmosphere of being around people that a restaurant allows.

Wiedmaier said that in SCCTC’s foods program, students like Deacon start with the basics, and then proceed to intermediate and advanced levels to develop a solid foundation in Culinary Arts.

Through lecture and cooking demonstrations, students learn the techniques of fine cooking and food prep, Wiedmaier said. Classes cover the basics of cooking and baking and the provisions used to create effective and elegant menus for the most discriminating palate.

She added that the restaurants offer students the opportunity to culminate all laboratory experiences as they rotate through all positions in management, production, and services perfecting skills and techniques.

Upon successful completion of this 3-year program, the student may seek employment as a baker, cashier, caterer, chef, host, hostess, line cook, restaurant manager, salad maker, short-order cook, dining room service personnel, or any of the vast number of culinary positions.

Or, they may choose to get further education in the hotel restaurant management or culinary arts fields.

SCCTC Director Alice Davis said that the school graduates about 15-18 students a year, and the program also accommodates non-traditional students such as adults wanting to hone their skills while preparing for a potential career down the road.

She said that the foods graduates all also leave the program with ServSafe certification.

If you’d like to learn more about the foods program and/or the restaurants, visit online: http://scctc.elklakeschool.org/resources/a-touch-of-class-and-the-serfass-solarium-restaurants