WHAT: The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College, at 4207 Walnut St., is an accredited, independent, degree-granting institution serving people pursuing careers in the hospitality industry.
FOOD FOR ALL: The School features four thematic restaurants and a pastry shop on its campus. The restaurants are open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 5:30 to 10 p.m. They offer a full bar and wine list. The pastry shop is open Monday through Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
APT PUPILS: In addition to serving as the restaurants’ hosts and waiters, students prepare, cook and serve the food while overseen by a restaurant manager and chef. The menus, designed by a chef instructor, change each 10-week term.
FLAVOR GOES GLOBAL: The International Bistro offers a three-course menu featuring cuisine from around the globe. For $21, patrons can get an appetizer, entrée and dessert. Starters include steamed pork dumplings with soy wasabi dipping sauce. A sample of a main course: grilled pork medallions, braised leeks and apples with maitre d’hôtel butter.
HOME COOKIN’: The American Heartland restaurant offers traditional stateside meals served in a homey environment. “The concept is to make you feel like you’re in a farmhouse in Idaho somewhere,” says Heather Flemke, director of marketing. For $17, diners get an appetizer, entrée and dessert. Appetizer offerings include Pennsylvania Dutch chicken corn soup and venison chili. Entrées include Philadelphia pretzel crusted catfish with butternut squash.
MAGNIFICO: The Italian Trattoria offers regional pasta dishes with a variety of sauces, including red tomato, white Alfredo and pesto. For $13.95, the spread includes an unlimited bowl of soup and a Caesar salad.
TOP CHEFS: For a more elegant experience and continental cuisine, diners can select The Great Chefs of Philadelphia restaurant. For $35, they can choose from a selection of meals created for the school by some of Philadelphia’s top food artisans, including Susanna Foo and Fritz Blank. For an extra $15, diners can add wine.
TASTY CAKES: Fresh bread is made daily in The Pastry Shop. In addition to éclairs and fruit tartlets, there is a selection of specialty cakes. For breakfast, try an omelet from the omelet station, or choose a dessert treat to complete your meal.
YOU’RE THE CHEF: The Restaurant School offers a buffet of community education classes for those looking to enhance their cooking skills. Courses include Introduction to Culinary Arts, Crab and Lobster, Southern Cooking, Thai Cooking, Cooking with Beer, Vegetarian Cuisine, Hands-On Cooking Classes with Cocktails, Classes for Junior Chefs and a Parent/Child Grilling Workshop. (Class selections may change come April.)
SLICE & DICE: Flemke says the classes involve hands-on training and not simply observation. “You come in, you cook,” she says. “You’re not sitting there watching the chef, you’re a part of the class, which is what people like. It’s nice to watch a cooking show, but it’s more exciting to actually do it.”
INFO: For more information about the restaurants, pastry shop or community education classes at The Restaurant School, call 215-222-4200 or visit www.walnuthillcollege.edu.
Originally published on March 4, 2010