Comet Café invites community to dinner at Floyd County Fairgrounds
By Travis Fischer, [email protected]
The student chefs at the Comet Café are preparing to serve up a meal for the community.
Every other week the young chefs at the Charles City High School prepare and serve a meal to their fellow students and others who want to attend. On Friday, March 24, they will be demonstrating their cooking skills to a larger group with a community dinner served at the Floyd County Fairgrounds.
This will be the first time in two years that the Comet Café has offered the community dinner, which serves as a major fundraiser to support the class’s activities throughout the school year.
“This dinner is a fun way for them to show off their skills and hard work,” said family consumer science (FCS) teacher Cady Mead. “They all work really well together.”
With around 14 students in the program, the Comet Café is a way for kids to gain practical kitchen experience, learning not just how to prepare different foods, but how to budget for the per-person cost of a meal.
Outside of the kitchen, the students take fieldtrips to specialty grocers, butchers, orchards, and more to get a first-hand look at where their ingredients come from.
“I absolutely love it,” said Emily Usher. “I think it’s a good way to connect with the community.”
“We feel like Charles City has a very strong FCS program in general,” said Cloey Usher. “We get to have a lot of opportunities that most schools don’t.”
As seniors, this is the second year the Usher sisters have participated in the program, seeing them taking on a leadership role as they gain an education in where food comes from and how it is prepared.
Every two weeks the students decide on a new meal, make their preparations, learn how to prepare it, and finally serve it up for their classmates.
Over the year their recipes have included homemade pasta, chipotle chicken and stir fry, and they are currently working on preparations to serve Philly cheesesteaks.
“Our menus are mostly versatile,” said Cloey.
“There are so many things you can do,” said Emily.
The experience gives the students encouragement to try new things, exposing them to foods outside their normal comfort zones, said Mead.
“I’d never had shrimp before until I made it a couple weeks ago,” said Emily.
For the community dinner, the Comet Café will be serving a full meal, starting with an appetizer of spinach artichoke dip and homemade bread, followed by an Italian salad.
For the main course, there will be two options available due to the observance of lent. Diners will have the choice between pork loin with a Dijon mustard sauce or shrimp scampi. Either option will come with a side of roasted vegetables and creamy mashed potatoes.
Finally, the students will serve a crème brûlée with raspberry sauce for dessert.
The doors to the Youth Enrichment Center open up at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6:15. For those who can’t stay for the meal, the students will prepare orders for carry-out.
Tickets for the dinner are $30 and reservations must be made by March 19. Those interested can email Mead at [email protected] or call the school at 641-257-6510.
“It’s an exciting thing after taking two years off since the last one,” said Mead. “We hope everyone can make it out.”