W sous chef Jack Ahern, a member of the advisory board for Ranger
Café @ West Shore, and student Sam Odetallah prepare food for
the lunch crowd. (West Life photo by Larry Bennet)
By Danielle Toth
Published Feb. 3, 2010
kitchen is bustling with activity. Busy hands are transporting hot
plates and cool buckets of ice as quickly as possible. Voices are
calling out across the room to communicate orders. Pots and pans
are clanging. Fresh, steaming plates of food are placed on a shelf
and almost immediately taken to hungry restaurant-goers.
This could be a typical kitchen at any restaurant,
but today it is the scene at Lakewood High School’s new student-run
restaurant, Ranger Café @ West Shore. The 50-seat restaurant had
its grand opening last week.
“The whole idea is to make this just like the real
world,” said chef Rob McGorray, head instructor of the West Shore
Career-Technical District’s culinary arts program. “This is not
your usual class. The students are wearing uniforms, working in
the kitchen and waiting on the general public. It’s the real thing.”
The restaurant is housed in the newly renovated west
wing of Lakewood High School that was opened in August. The West
Shore Career-Technical District, housed in the new facility, teaches
students from communities including Rocky River, Lakewood, Bay Village
and Westlake vocational skills, including biotechnology, construction
trades, accounting and financial services, business management and
interactive media. There are 22 programs in total, said Linda Thayer,
director of the West Shore Career-Technical District.
“It’s very important for students to have something
like this on their resume,” Thayer said. “Many companies who have
had our students hire and keep them on. It’s good for the individual
and good for the prospective employer. It’s a win-win.”
Jessica Nieves and Bianca Beltran serve lunch to Lakewood recreation
employees Carol Krumreig and Mike Callahan.
The Culinary Arts/ProStart Internship program is a
two-year curriculum designed by the National Restaurant Association
for students who wish to pursue a career in the food service and
hospitality industry. The program is open to juniors and seniors.
The state-of-the art commercial kitchen allows the
approximately 40 students in the program to receive hands-on restaurant
The students had some input on the menu, which was
created around instructional needs, McGorray said. Interactive media
students designed the menu.
Soups and salads include soup of the day, quiche of
the day and several different salads, including a caprese salad
and West Shore Chicken Salad. Entrees include stuffed roasted chicken
breast and seafood of the day. Sandwiches include the Lakewood Club
and Rocky River Grilled Chicken on Ciabatta Bread. Side dishes are
french fries, seasonal vegetables, mashed potatoes and risotto of
the day. The menu rounds out with desserts, which include a chocolate
mousse cake and apple tart.
Besides cooking, the students also learn the inventory
and ordering process, although the instructors do the actual ordering,
said Devan Sharosky, junior instructor of the program. Students
also learn the point-of-sale system, in which servers use a touch-screen
monitor to send orders to the kitchen. The orders go to specific
stations, such as the dessert station for an order of apple tart.
The students will rotate positions throughout the semester.
“Because we’re opening in the second semester, the
students probably won’t get the opportunity to do every station,”
Sharosky said. “They pick their ideal station and we try to grant
that. We will rotate them, but it takes time to retrain each student
on a different station.”
James Gajewski, a Lakewood student, said he joined
the program because a friend persuaded him. Before the program,
he was considering a career in architecture. He now wants to pursue
a culinary career, he said.
“I’m hoping to attend John Carroll University and
then the Culinary Institute of America,” Gajewski said. “From Day
One, I knew I really loved this career. I’ve really enjoyed the
John Rodriguez, a Westlake student, joined the program
because he thought it would be a good experience. Rodriguez said
he hopes to be an entertainer, but may also pursue a culinary career.
“My family’s always told me I make the best desserts,”
he said. “I like making pastries. Culinary arts is just one opportunity
for my future.”
The restaurant is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the school year at 14100 Franklin Ave.
Restaurant-goers are asked to use the visitors’ entrance off Franklin
Avenue. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (216)
529-4165. For a full menu selection, visit www.lakewoodcityschools.org
and click on West Shore CTD under Schools.
On the Web: