MCCTC students display serving skills at The Bistro Restaurant

By Amanda Tonoli


The Bistro Restaurant serves five-course meals to showcase the talents of students enrolled in the adult culinary school at Mahoning County Career and Technical Center, 7300 N. Palmyra Road.

The restaurant is run by the students under the direction of chef instructors Sean Kushma and Quinn Meechan. It is the students’ final hurrah after 10 months of hard work and education in the food-service field.

From 5:30 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, you can dine in at MCCTC eating baked cod, New York strip steak, burgers and more.

Meal prices range from $10 to $15 depending on the order – by cash or check only.

Because The Bistro is self-funded, any food bought or sold – or tips earned – are cycled back to the students who paid for the class.

Kushma said his favorite part working with culinary students is seeing their success.

“It’s an opportunity for us to see them grow,” he said.

Kushma said he’s had students from age 18 to 65.

“We have a really good success rate with graduating students,” he said. “If they want to be working, they are.”

The 10-month program, now in its fifth year, begins in October with the basics such as properly holding a knife and use of various kitchen equipment. It progresses to a two-week restaurant management process at The Bistro toward the end of July.

“It’s breakfast pantry meets seafood and international, as well,” Kushma said.

Sandy Furano, program director, said The Bistro Restaurant experience provides students with their required externship, rather than outsourcing positions to local restaurants.

“Here at The Bistro they get the full experience of everything, one night of serving, the next of cooking, maybe one of [main] dishes or pastries,” Kushma said. “It rotates, which is better than them just doing prep somewhere else because no one has time to train them.”

Students have the opportunity to leave the program with seven certifications covering a variety of food-service positions, including restaurant manager, executive chef, sous chef, banquet caterer, banquet planner, food-truck operator and more.

“Leaving with that many certifications and knowing restaurant management and the culinary part really opens up their opportunities,” Furano said.

“It’s just a good education they get in the time they’re here and something they can apply to their lives and their careers,” Kushma said.

“We get phone calls here on a daily basis looking for employees. It’s great for career opportunities,” he added.

As far as phone calls about The Bistro, Kushma said the restaurant gets busy with customers during the two weeks of operation, and by the second week, he takes reservations.

For an updated menu or other information about the restaurant, call Furano at 330-729-4100.

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