CCCC students offer up fine dining
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Lisa Farmer | The Daily Record. D'Nisha McCrimmon of Dunn, CCCC culinary arts student, prepares a ... (more)
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Lisa Farmer | The Daily Record. Here is a sample of the meals prepared by the students and offered ... (more)
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Lisa Farmer | The Daily Record. Magdalene West and Elease Hodges, both of Dunn, are Wednesday regulars ... (more)
By Lisa Farmer, The Daily Record of Dunn
DUNN - Brazilian shrimp soup with herb-roasted purple potatoes and carrots, white chocolate brownies with homemade citrus lemonade. Where can you find this meal in Dunn? At the Dunn Center Cafe.
The Dunn Center Cafe is located in the cafeteria of the CCCC/Dunn Center, formerly Harnett High School.
The facility, which has gone by many names, is home to all sorts of programs and CCCC's culinary arts program is one of many.
And few know that on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the culinary arts students show off what they have learned by serving up a delicious meal at a low price. The proceeds are turned over to the CCCC Foundation.
On this day when The Daily Record visited, the students also served Italian vegetable flatbread, garden apple salad, French-style green beans and cream puffs -- not your everyday Dunn fare.
A few people have caught on and enjoy the dining variety each week.
"The food is delicious and they have a lot of variety," said Phyllis Taylor, Dunn Senior Center director whose office is also out of the CCCC/Dunn Center.
On this day, D'Nisha McCrimmon was busy putting together the final touches on the garden apple salad.
She said she enjoys her studies and working with Chef De-Ven Atkinson.
"I want to own my own restaurant," the Dunn resident said. "I've learned a lot."
She was a good cook before, but said she's learned lots of new skills.
Each week the menu changes. Becky Parker, director of the Dunn Center, emails a menu for those on her mailing list in advance. Diners can eat it or take out.
There are also pantry items for sale, which rotate, such as homemade pasta, cinnamon rolls, gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and bread.
Students, such as Kathryn Howell of Erwin, take your order, just like a restaurant.
Ms. Howell was studying to be a dental hygienist, but that wasn't her cup of tea. Now she is a culinary student and has obtained an $8,000 scholarship to continue her education at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte.
"I'd love to work for the college," Ms. Howell said of her future ambitions. "I'd love to teach and a few years down the road, I will open my own restaurant."
"It's great. The food is good. Every week is something new. You can see their skills developing," said Triangle South Director and fellow CCCC employee Mari-inetta Pavlic.
Ms. Parker was particularly fond of the shrimp and grits.
"He (chef) makes the best mac and cheese," she said.
Under way now is a BBQ Essentials class, which anyone can take. It's not just Eastern North Carolina barbecue, but all sorts of barbecue techniques.
Magdalene West and Elease Hodges of Dunn are regulars.
"We come every week. It's different and it's something we can't cook," said Mrs. Hodges, the grandmother of Ms. Howell.
"I wouldn't know how to start," Mrs. West said.
"The price is right," Mrs. Hodges said.
"We like to have people who want to try new things," Ms. Parker said.
This is the first year of the culinary arts program in Harnett County and educators hope it grows.
Down the road, the students will start running a greenhouse that now sits empty on the campus - truly farm to table.
Next week's menu is lemon pepper grilled chicken or shrimp creole jambalya with choice of spring strawberry and citrus salad, four cheese scalloped potatoes and French green beans and peach cobbler and Southern dirt cake for dessert.
The cafe is located at 660 E. Johnson St., Dunn. To get on the email list, contact Mrs. Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (910) 814-8925 or drop by one Wednesday.
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