Students, local chefs create dining menu

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Students, local chefs create dining menu

Rob Hansen instructs sophomore Julianna Cox. Photo: Heath Parish

The Bob Jones University culinary arts students are teaming up with two local chefs to present a unique Fine Dining Series for 2021.

This year the guest chefs are Chef Rodney Freidank, corporate chef for Table 301, a restaurant group based in Greenville, and Chef Drew Erickson, director of culinary development for Table 301. Both chefs have known Chef Rob Hansen, a BJU faculty member and culinary arts program coordinator, for years and were invited to work with the students for this year’s Fine Dining Rodeheaver Auditorium’s student stage crew is Series. Freidank is returning from having participated in last year’s series.

The Fine Dining Series gives the culinary arts students a chance to work with award-winning chefs with different styles and specialties from the faculty members they normally learn from, allowing them to incorporate new techniques into their own repertoire and cultivate their own style.

The role of the guest chefs is to work with the students to create both the menus and the individual dishes and menu items. “A lot of it is collaborating and learning and getting the chance to share knowledge,” Erickson said. “I think it’s great to have them do this.”

Rob Hansen instructs sophomore Julianna Cox. Photo: Heath Parish

“Really the students do most or all of the work, even the creative, even the ideas,” Freidank said. “My role to get the menu started was just to sit down with them…and just follow some ideas and try to come up with whatever theme for the [menu].”

This year, drawing on the diverse cultural backgrounds of the students, the students and chefs created a menu influenced by each student’s experiences. Freidank said, “Each student, we realized, was from a different place in the world, and we tried to have each of them write a dish they’d be passionate about.”

After picking a dish, the students then create a first version of the dish and receive valuable feedback that helps shape the progression of the dish towards its final form. Freidank said viewing this development was something he particularly enjoyed about working with the students.

Both Freidank and Erickson said they were excited for the series and encouraged people to come. “I think it’s a good place to come for a night,” Freidank said. “The students always do a really good job. So, just expect to have good food…and be proud of the students, because they’re going to do a great job.”

Junior Angelica Wilkie, senior Karla Camilo and sophomore Esther Rupesh Pannalall prep food in the
Culinary Arts building. Photo: Heath Parish

One warning both chefs gave was for people with dietary restrictions. Freidank said, “Remember to let us know if you have any special dietary concerns…so we can make you a suitable dish.”

Upcoming dates for the series are March 12, March 19 and April 2. Dinner times are available at 5:15, 5:30 and 5:45 p.m.

The meals are priced at $35 per person (not including tax and gratuity). In order to place a reservation, groups need to contact Chef Hansen by emailing rhansen@bju.edu with a name for the reservation, phone number, number of seats and the date they would like to attend.