After a hiatus caused by COVID-19, culinary elective students are back in the kitchen and customers have resumed purchasing lunches and other baked products from the Tiger’s Loft Bistro.
“I remember in the beginning half of sophomore year, I came here a lot with my friends,” said senior Amy Staunton.“I am happy to be back.”
Along with customers, students in the culinary elective have been enjoying their experience in the Tiger’s Loft.
“It’s a really fun learning experience,” said sophomore Abigail Shectman, a culinary Major One student. “I’m learning what it’s like in restaurants and I’m much more appreciative of how they make my food and all the time and care that they put into every detail.”
However, COVID-19 still affects the restaurant and its procedures.
Across the country, there have been shortages of many foods and other goods, and as a result, prices have skyrocketed.
“When we used to buy gloves pre-pandemic, they were between 20 to 30 dollars a case. Now, for that same exact gloves, it’s 109 dollars a case for the gloves,” said culinary teacher Lisa McKinney.
Changes in schedule have also impacted the program. Students are unable to purchase lunch on Mondays and Wednesdays. They can only do so on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays during second and third lunches. The restaurant’s morning hours are now Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:15 to 11:00 am and Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:15 to 10:15 am.
Even so, McKinney and culinary teacher Alexis Lugbauer also expressed gratitude for the benefits in-person learning offers to their students.
“It’s been very nice to have students back in space again and really nice to have to have the community back together,” said Lugbauer.
The sequence of the new block schedule has been what affected the program the most.
Lugbauer stressed the impact on major three class. The students are taking the course B, C, and D blocks. Most days, there are gaps between classes and Monday is now the only day they have class without interruption.
McKinney added, “In the old schedule, we saw them everyday, and we saw them a minimum of two times a day, and now there are days when we don’t see them.”
WIN-block has also been an added challenge for teachers. Students in the culinary major tracks are automatically signed up for certain WIN-blocks, a common theme among CTE majors. Because of this, other students are not able to join to ask questions or make up work.
“Our students are scheduled in our class during WIN-block. And because of that, we can’t meet with other students during WIN-block because we’re already scheduled,” said McKinney.
According to all, even with the challenges, teachers and students have a new appreciation for the Tiger’s Loft and everyone is excited to be back.