skip to Main Content

Culinary students get real world experience

Taking a classroom to a real-world setting isn’t easy but when done correctly it’s a win-win for the student and the business.

OTC’s culinary arts program has taken its first step in offering students that practical work experience this summer in an arrangement reached between the college and owner of Vintage Veranda Team Room at 724 S. Scenic.

After program director Lisa Gardner and owner Patty Wingo talked it over, the two decided the nine students in a summer culinary class could come to work at the restaurant for two weeks. The work ends June 21.

The culinary program does operate a student-run restaurant once a week in the fall and winter semesters on the Springfield campus but the summer pilot program will come practical experience.

“Students will be taking orders from someone else and preparing dishes from a menu they didn’t design. It should be interesting,” Gardner said.

Wingo said having the students was a good fit for her establishment and the students.

“I love the idea. I’m pumped. I want their ideas on marketing and the menu. It’s a teaching moment for me,” she said.

The students are divided between working the front of the house as wait staff and managers and the back of the house in the kitchen.

Richard Hicks, part of the wait staff, said he was anxious to take part in the class.

“I really wanted to be a part and jumped at the idea of working here. I’m glad I took the summer class,” he said.

Tracye Corbin, who was working as one of the managers, enrolled in the culinary program after her parents retired from their business.

“I’ve wanted to cook forever. My first job in high school was working for a catering company,” she said.

Gardner said the pilot program could become a regular course on the schedule.

“We are testing the waters right now but there is a benefit to partnering up with another restaurant and we will be looking into that. It’s good work experience for the students,’ she said.


College Director of Communications

Phone: 417.447.2655


Steve Koehler

Coordinator of Publications

Phone: (417) 447-2666


Back To Top