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Comet Cafe students provide perfect date opportunity

Comet Cafe students provide perfect date opportunity

CCHS programs to put on Friday night gourmet dinner and show

It’s Friday night. Leave the cupboards closed and the television off. Take the sweetheart out for a standard date night that will prove to be far above standard: dinner and a show, Charles City Comet style.

Friday night the Charles City High School will put on “The Miracle Worker,” but before enjoying the play, taste the miracles that Comet Cafe students can work with food. Typically Comet Cafe is served every other Thursday as a lunch in the Family and Consumer Sciences classroom. This Friday marks the trimester final and for the occasion, Comet Cafe students are pulling out all the stops. The dinner will be served from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Charles City Elks Club.

The menu is a product of the students’ research.

“We all looked for different menus in groups of two,” Meghan McKenna, Comet Cafe chef, said. “Kind of ended up taking a different piece from everyone’s menu.”

Friday evening diners will feast on: roasted red pepper soup with homemade crackers, sauteéd chicken with asparagus and béchamel sauce, duchess potatoes and pineapple upside-down cake.

Just as other students study for their finals, Comet Cafe cooks do plenty of prep work to ensure their final results are perfect. According to Comet Cafe chef Shae Etherington every recipe on the menu — besides the soup — was practiced and tweaked before settling on how the final meal will be prepared. Etherington has been made responsible for making the basil crackers.

“(The recipe) called for rosemary,” she said. After reviewing the recipe, it was decided basil would be a better season choice than rosemary.

Another recipe that took some trial and error was the pineapple upside down cake.

“We tried two recipes,” Comet Cafe chef Samantha Lensing said. “It was really dry.”

“All else fails, call Mom,” Comet Cafe teacher Dene Lundberg said. When the pineapple upside down cake recipes weren’t quite what her students were hoping for, Lundberg called her mother for a tried and true recipe.

Comet Cafe chef Tori Winchester thinks the hardest part of the menu is preparing the chicken.

“Marinade it overnight, beat it, slice it, roll it around the asparagus — there’s a lot do in a little bit of time,” she said.

Alexis Clough, Comet Cafe chef, has been assigned to spearhead the chicken portion of the menu.

“(We) just bought close to 50 pounds,” Clough said of the chicken piled on her plate. Her biggest fear is making sure the chicken stays flavorful and moist and doesn’t dry out.

A common worry among the Comet Cafe chefs is having everything done on time.

“Almost everything (will be) prepared before hand,” Hanna Bjelica, Comet Cafe chef, said. Recipes have been tested and ingredients are being measured out and stored for quicker preparation.

Comet Cafe chef Maddison Loeckle plans to be preparing for Friday evening’s dinner most of the day. She and her classmates will use their study halls and free periods to make sure everything is ready to be transferred to the Charles City Elks club.

School ends around 3 p.m. and dinner is scheduled to be served at 5 p.m.

“Make sure it’s ready by at least 4:30 p.m.,” Loeckle said of their time frame.

Comet Cafe chef Brandon Childs knows time management will be the most important part of successfully passing their final.

“Getting everything plated and everyone seated on time,” would be the biggest challenge, Childs said.

All of Lundberg’s Comet Cafe students are eager to showcase the cooking prowess they’ve gained over the course of the first trimester. To taste and give a grade of your own make reservations by visiting or by calling the Charles City High School at 641-257-6510. Dinner tickets are $14.

By Amie Johansen [email protected]

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