TMSG: Garland ISD Students Serve Up Mardi Gras Meal

Lookin' for a new place to grab coffee or lunch? Your next stop may be the student-run, student-made Bistro in the Garland ISD. It's housed inside the district's Gilbreath-Reed Career and Technical Center, 4885 N. President George Bush Highway. 

It's open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. for breakfast, then 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. for lunch.

"It's almost like a hidden gem. And, we do want the public to come out," Rob Richards, the culinary and pastry teacher said. "And, honestly, you're gonna get a cheaper meal, but you're also having the students learn the menu options and execute the lunch."

During March, the students in the culinary program taught by chefs Richards and Alex Bar-Sela, are preparing and serving a special Mardi Gras menu.

"Redfish that we're gonna sear and saute over etouffee," Richards said. "We've got gumbo. We also have bread pudding with pecan praline on top and a baby on top with a sugar cookie." [[506384132,C]]

Here's what's on the menu:

Chicken Gumbo $6

Shrimp Creole with red beans and rice $9

3 types of Jambalaya $8 each: vegan, chicken and sausage and seafood

Bread Pudding $5

(non-Mardi Gras) items:

Burgers $7

Philly Cheese Steak $7

Gyros $7

Jerk Chicken Sandwich $7

The center's hospitality team led by Etinne Walker is also in on the Mardi Gras fun with two special drinks: Smokin' Jamba Juice Beverage and Mardi Gras smoothies. Walker shared the recipes with us. They're below.

"I'm very confident in what we do. Chef has prepared us so well for things like this," Katherine Velasquez, 16, told NBC5. The high school junior is in her first year of the culinary program and knows it's right where she's supposed to be.

"I feel like I'm doing what I love when I'm in the kitchen. I'm happy. When chef teaches us something new, I'm like, 'That's so cool,'" she said.

Senior Qui Le, 18, also says when he found the hospitality program, he found his calling.

"It's been the best decision of my high school career," he said. "Hospitality is more than than food and beverage, it's about sports and recreation, hotel and lodging."

Like Velasquez, Li also plans a career in the field he's now studying.

"I've recently been accepted at University of Houston," he said. "It's one of the best hospitality schools in the nation."

Richards says Garland's new culinary and hospitality programs come at a critical time.

"The biggest problem in the industry, and I think I speak for every chef in Dallas, is, it's hard to find culinary talent," Richards said. "And, this is a great avenue where they can experience it and know exactly what they're getting into."

And for the public, the Bistro is a great place to get a taste of what the kids are learning.

Scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage among the items on the menu for breakfast. Burgers and sandwiches are served at lunch along with a Lone Star State classic.

"You gotta teach 'em how to make chicken fried steak in Texas," Richards smiled.

Smokin' Jamba Juice Beverage Recipe

1/4 sweet tea

1/4 peach tea

1/4 lemonade

1/4 ginger ale

Adorned with a fresh orange slice and an "icicle" stir stick that has a safety compartment for dry ice storage to create the smoking effect and avoid consumption of dry ice pellets. Frozen grapes are used to keep the beverage chilled in the dispenser.

Mardi Gras Smoothies Recipe

Purple layer - Raspberries & Strawberries

Gold layer - Pineapple

Green layer - Kiwi

Blended with ice and pineapple juice

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