Restaurant Wars take over L’cafe

Caitlyn Croppi, News Editor

From Top Chef to Liberty High School, the L’Cafe is taking on its own rendition of Restaurant Wars. There are eleven different restaurants that the L’Cafe will be remade into in the span of eleven weeks, and the customers get to decide who wins.
“Nicole Winters and I wanted to find a way to really challenge students to think outside of the box and see how this class really applies to the world, but also get the whole school involved, especially to see how hard these students work,” Chef Zarah Matsuda said.
Winters has been at the L’Cafe for three years and worked closely with the head chef Matsuda to make this project happen. Based on the popular competition in the cooking show Top Chef, Liberty students in the L’Cafe grouped up and create their own restaurant. The themes are chosen by the groups and kept secret until a week before their restaurant opens and the group is in charge of advertising their themed restaurant.
But getting to opening day requires coming up with the theme, menu, and doing all of the prep work. Prepping for the project includes creating a shopping list, writing recipes, and making station setups. In restaurants, different parts of food preparation are split up into different stations, such as the bakery, grill, salads and sandwiches, soup, and beverages. Getting all of this work done is the first challenge these students are faced with.
“It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it. I feel like Restaurant Wars not only shows our capabilities as cooks, but also lets us be creative and do what we want. For people who actually want to get into the industry, this could be really valuable,” second-year manager junior Lauren Klatt said.
Another challenge students face is communicating to the other periods to make sure their restaurants are successfully carried out. In order to ensure that other periods help out, students create prep lists, which are station specific instructions that tell each station in every period what they need to do and when they need to do it.
“We really wanted to do something that will involve the whole school, so the only way to really make this work is with the whole school participating as judges,” Winters said.
With every competition, there must be a winner, and in Liberty’s Restaurant Wars, who is better to decide than the school itself? The winning team will be decided on sales and customer reviews. Customer reviews can be written on provided slips made for customers to review their meal. Additionally, students can interact with the L’Cafe’s Instagram and DM their reviews or post pictures and tag the account with reviews.

“So when we finally open back up, we need students to participate! I really want to make this an annual thing, but first we have to see how this year goes,” Matsuda said.