The Baker College of Port Huron student-operated, fine-dining restaurant and bar at the Culinary Institute of Michigan (CIM) has opened its doors, serving up Michigan products and beautiful local views. The CIM Port Huron is located at 2000 St. Clair Street, Port Huron.
Named COURSES, the teaching restaurant opened to the public on April 23 offering lunch three days a week—Wednesdays through Fridays, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the last reservation for seating at 1:15 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (810)357-0875.
“Our menus will feature Michigan products and locally grown foods, when available,” said Paula Recinella, COURSES manager and CIM instructor of culinary arts and food and beverage management. “We know our patrons will love discovering quality Michigan products, and this is a great way we can contribute to a healthy, local economy as our Baker College students gain valuable real-world experience.”
One example she noted is particularly good news for Michigan beer lovers. All COURSES’ draft beers are from breweries within the state.
The current menu features a three-course American regional prix-fixe menu and several à la carte appetizers, salads, entrées and desserts. The name of the signature house salad is CIMply Michigan, a play on the CIM name. Entrées feature beef, salmon, pasta and chicken, and a soup-and-sandwich-combination meal ranging from $7 to $12.
The 1,000-square-foot dining room accommodates up to 46 guests. There are six seats at the bar and 10 tables for four persons each in the restaurant area. Each table offers a stunning view of the sparkling St. Clair River and Blue Water Bridge.
“COURSES represents a unique learning opportunity for students,” Recinella said. “Their employable skills will develop enormously as they take on various responsibilities in their dual roles as kitchen and dining room staff.”
She said that students will be learning how to run a kitchen, dining room and bar in a real-world business environment, and patrons will be participating in the educational process. “It’s one part restaurant and one part classroom,” she added.
Recinella has more than 25 years’ experience in the hospitality and foodservice industry. This includes working as a chef, dining-room manager and lodging-accommodations manager at private and public country clubs, hotels and catering companies. She was also an owner/operator of both a catering company in White Lake, Mich., and a fine-dining restaurant in upstate New York and has taught culinary-arts classes at the State University of New York at Delhi.
All of the 12 students who are staffing the restaurant are in the second year of an associate-degree program.
Current CIM Port Huron programs include two associate degrees: one in culinary arts and one in food and beverage management. Potential programs include a certificate and associate degree in baking and pastry and a bachelor’s degree in food and beverage management.
Photo:Paula Recinella, COURSES manager and CIM instructor of culinary arts and food and beverage management.