OCC Culinary Institute crafts curious fall and winter events

By: Kayla Dimick | Farmington Press | Published October 14, 2015


FARMINGTON HILLS — The Oakland Community College Culinary Institute is whipping up some special events to usher in the cooler months ahead.

The institute, located in Tirrell Hall, 27055 Orchard Lake Road, will serve up its first event of the school year at 6 p.m. Oct. 22 with the Alumni Guest Chef Dinner.

For $55, the dinner will include an American farm-to-table experience with a strolling cocktail hour, hors d’oeuvres, signature drinks and a five-course meal that will reflect the season’s flavors.

Not only will culinary students produce, prepare and present the entire event, but alumni chefs Steve Allen and Chuck Rachwitz, of Steve and Rocky’s in Novi, will act as guest chefs for the dinner.

According to chef Susan Baier, program coordinator, students are responsible for doing everything for the event, from crafting the cocktails to picking out the décor to deciding how much food the chefs need to prepare.

“The key message to everybody is that all events are about student learning,” Baier said. “They have to — as student managers — organize everything that’s needed for the events to happen.They can use in real life everything they’ve learned.”

The event is also meant to showcase successful alumni so that students can see how everything they’ve learned can come to fruition, and they can also get experience from outside the school, Baier said.

Student Barb Nunnold said she will be acting as one of the decor managers at the event. She’s responsible for all the physical décorations at the dinner as part of her catering and events class.

“I’m looking forward to seeing it all come together,” Nunnold said. “I work with the other teams a little bit, and everybody is working on their own set part. Seeing it all come together on the night of the event is going to be amazing.”

Nunnold, a mom and White Lake resident, said she decided to go back to school after her kids got a little older, and she picked OCC because of its price and convenience, as well as its reputation as an award-winning school.

“It made me realize how much thought that goes into putting on an event,” Nunnold said. “It’s not just décor, and it’s not just making it look pretty — there’s so much more that goes on behind the scenes to put on an event.”

The school is also hosting a Halloween Luncheon Booffett to celebrate the spooky holiday 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 29. For $12, guests can dress up and enjoy food, drink and witches brew.

During the holiday season, a Winter Wonderland Holiday Evening Buffet will be held Dec. 3, and the 29th annual Wassail Dinner will be held Dec. 10.

For a complete list of upcoming OCC Culinary Institute events or for more infromation, go to occ.edu/culinary.