Teamwork, preparation and responsibility: ingredients for success
By Madison Weller
Rowan College at Burlington County Strategic Marketing and Communications intern
“It’s all about teamwork and preparation,” according to Jondre Cameron, 22-year-old Rowan College at Burlington County culinary arts student.
He’s referring to Vaulted Cuisine, RCBC’s student-run restaurant, which is a credit course that offers students real-world experience and the greater community a three-course meal for $20.
The Burlington County Institute of Technology Medford Campus graduate will be the first to take a turn as sous chef when the restaurant has its opening night Wednesday, March 1; students will alternate through the duration of the term.
“The sous chef is the second in charge: he watches everything. If the chef doesn’t see something, you get on it. You manage between the front and the back of the house, you expedite,” Cameron said.
It’s a lot of responsibility, but that’s another part of the point of Vaulted Cuisine, according to Acting Director of Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism, Chef James Brudnicki.
“The whole class is built around responsibility,” he said. “They come in nervous, but by the end of the semester, these students know what it’s like to work in a kitchen and how to run a restaurant.”
Although it may be the first time in a professional kitchen for some students, Cameron and some of his classmates already have some experience to build on.
Shari VanFleet, 35, of Haddonfield, worked as a bakery manager at Wegmans for 11 years.
“Wegmans taught me about the management aspects of a kitchen, like how to delegate tasks,” the pastry arts major said.
VanFleet will work alongside two other pastry arts majors preparing the desserts at Vaulted Cuisine, as well as with Cameron and other culinary arts majors.
Cameron also has some kitchen experience to build on; while at the Burlington County Institute of Technology, he frequently prepared meals for staff as part of his program.
Although he noted that Vaulted Cuisine will present a challenge because there are more menu items now than there were at the Burlington County Institute of Technology, he feels confident.
“Chef Tisdale and Chef Saxon at BCIT really prepared me,” he said.
Vaulted Cuisine prepares students for entrance into the workforce and helps them meet their career goals. After VanFleet completes the pastry arts program, she hopes to work part-time in a bakery to balance work with raising her daughter.
Cameron ultimately hopes to become a sous chef or even run his own business someday, noting that, “I always want to go farther.”
The restaurant has been successful in its five-year history, catering to church groups, social groups and even a vegetarian society in the past. In fact, the community response has been so favorable that reservations for this term have already been completely filled. Patrons have the opportunity to eat a three-course meal for $20, and RCBC culinary students have the opportunity to develop their skills.
“It’s all about the growth of the students,” said Chef Brudnicki.
For more information on RCBC’s Culinary Arts Center, including degree programs and upcoming events, visit rcbc.edu/culinary.
This article ran in the Burlinngton County Times on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017.