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HOSP 320 students take their culinary talents to The Depot

March 10, 2021

Christen Young’s recipe is simple.

Take a team of talented students and a creative menu, add the freshest ingredients along with thoughtful presentation, and offer it to campus diners at a fair price.

“I have really enjoyed all of the meals so far,” said Young, who plans to graduate in May with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management. “Every group has brought something different to the table, and everything has been really yummy.”

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, students enrolled in Hospitality 320 serve meals at The Depot located in the Holmes Student Center.

Young is enrolled in Hospitality 320, a food production course where students work behind-the-scenes to purchase ingredients and prepare meals that are sold each Tuesday and Thursday at The Depot, located in Holmes Student Center.

“This class provides student with real-world kitchen experience that is difficult to be learned in a classroom,” said John Boswell, director of Retail Dining, NIU Campus Dining Services and course instructor. “They are still able to create all their own menus, order the food, create nutrition information, cost out all ingredients, and create a marketing plan.”

In addition, Boswell said, students learn skills that extend beyond the kitchen.

“They are also able to still work as a team with fellow classmates throughout this entire process to create their own homemade meals customers will enjoy,” Boswell said.

Hospitality 320 would normally prepare meals for Ellington’s Restaurant, but since Ellington’s has been temporarily closed due to COVID-19, instructors pivoted to provide an important learning experience.

Over the course of the semester, students work in small teams to prepare meals that are packaged and sold at The Depot for customers to enjoy.

“Although I wish we were in Ellington’s getting the full experience, this new way of doing things gives us an opportunity to put our marketing skills to use,” Young said. “And I really enjoy the team I got assigned to; we all work so well together.”

Boswell shared the sentiment.

“The students this semester have been very organized and have worked well together in the kitchen,” Boswell said. “So far their meals look and taste great.”

Diners have been delighted by things like chicken and orzo pasta salad, Italian scones, Hawaiian barbecue pineapple chicken wraps, Mediterranean chicken wraps and hummus.

Visit The Depot each Tuesday and Thursday to support Huskies and purchase the creative carry-out meals. Meals are $7.99 and can be purchased with Dining Dollars and Huskie Bucks in addition to cash, credit or debit.