Bistro proVare brings the classroom to life
By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer
HOOVER—Fresh grilled salmon with rice pilaf, green peas, asparagus and beurre blanc; chicken marsala with mushrooms, asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes and mascarpone cheesecake were just a few of the dishes on the menu at Jefferson State Community College’s Bistro proVare on Feb. 16.
The student-run restaurant, located on Jeff State’s Hoover-Shelby campus, features an ever-changing menu of fresh, made-from-scratch dishes.
“It changes almost weekly,” Jason Bierley, award-winning restaurant chef and lab instructor at Jeff State, said. “It depends on what’s going on across the hall.”
Bierley plans each week’s menu based on what the culinary students are learning in their classes, noting menu options range from steak and ribs to fish and desserts.
Bistro proVare gives Jeff State culinary students the opportunity to apply the skills they learn in the classroom to a real-life restaurant setting, with a full, restaurant-style kitchen and dining room that seats 40 guests.
“It’s called an open kitchen,” Bierley explained. “It is set up just like you’d find anywhere in town.”
Working in the restaurant is woven into the curriculum of some classes. Students also have the opportunity to do their internships on campus at Bistro proVare. Each position at the restaurant, from servers to chefs, is staffed by students.
“They get a taste of everything… it’s the whole kit and caboodle,” Bierley said. “It’s pretty much the same (as a restaurant), just dialed down a little bit.”
Although only open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., the student chefs face the same challenges as any other chef in the real world, Bierley explained. Since each dish is made to order, students must learn to cook a-la-carte under time constraints.
Bistro proVare is open for lunch every Monday-Thursday, and Bierley said weekly menus are posted to the restaurant’s Facebook page. Seating fills up quickly, so reservations in advance are encouraged. To make a reservation, call 983-5214.