(Originally posted on GrantCOnnected.net’s website on October 5, 2016)
The Marion Regional Career Center is giving high school students a chance to run their own restaurant.
Giant Bistro, located on Western Ave., is opening next week as a way for Grant County high school students who are a part of the MRCC’s Culinary Arts program to learn how the restaurant industry works.
According to Marion Community Schools Superintendent Brad Lindsay, a Marion business owner, Jim Swan, also owns the building. He said through an agreement between Swan and the Marion School Board, he is allowing the students to run the restaurant.
Hans Huber, the instructor for the program at MRCC, teaches the students kitchen safety, food safety, sanitation and cooking methods. He said Giant Bistro will help the students with their future career.
“Coming off the street with skills that an average person might not have is automatically going to put them higher in the running,” Huber said. “We can get these kids certifications that definitely make them more enticing to prospective employers and it’s just a good skill to have to know how to cook for yourself. All around it just benefits these kids.”
Rhianna Gary, a junior at Marion High School, said she likes being a part of this program because it is going to help her when she starts applying for other jobs.
“It’s really good skills in life because you can go and work anywhere after this,” Gary said. “I want to learn how to serve and how to cook so I would have those skills and I could go just about anywhere and get a job because I’ve already had this experience doing it here.”
Amber Huber is not only Huber’s wife, but his assistant as well. She helps the students with front and back of house duties and helps out her husband however she can. Not only will the students learn how to cook, but according to Amber, she will also teach some of them how to work as assistant managers.
She said she tells the students they are a family, and to not see each other as what they have or do not have.
“As long as you work hard and you do your job and then you play your intricate role in the family, that’s what it’s about,” Amber said. “So I couldn’t tell you who the ‘haves’ or who the ‘have nots’ are because it doesn’t matter here. What matters here is what are you contributing to the end product.”
Lindsay said he likes seeing the students have a “fun way to learn” with running Giant Bistro.
“I’m proud of our students and it’s fun seeing them as professionals,” Lindsay said. “This is a fun creative way of doing business.”
Amber said she hopes the community will support the students and their program by eating at the restaurant.
“We have a lot of people supporting us so I just really hope the community backs us because these kids deserve that,” Amber said. “They deserve to have these programs and by them coming in, that is what’s going to keep these programs alive.”
The menu includes breakfast and lunch items, as well as salads, appetizers and desserts. It is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, which allows the students to work there during the school day.