Restaurant 108 prepares for renovations



Students prepare food behind the scenes in the Restaurant 108 kitchen.

Jamie Martinez, Regulars Writing Editor

A line of students goes through the door into the nearby hallway. Students are standing at the cash registers, moving as quickly as possible to satiate the growing number of hungry students. More students dart back and forth to and from the kitchen with white boxes of food in hand. If you ask anyone where they would prefer to get lunch at the high school, it is almost certain they would say Restaurant 108.

Just as the high school plans for an expansion in the upcoming years, the school restaurant does as well. The restaurant has changed a lot in recent years, and for Restaurant and Culinary Science Teacher Paul Carpenter, this will be his second experience with renovations after his first in the mid-1990s.

“This used to be all wood floors, the kitchen used to be those square tiles, there used to be paneling,” Carpenter said. “They probably have pictures of it someplace. It was really old and beat.”

The size of the restaurant classes have expanded exponentially since then; there used to be about eight students per class, and now there are about 18. Carpenter said that changes socially and technologically have contributed to the growth of the program over the years.

“The program has changed because society has; the Food Network promoted and changed the whole food business,” Carpenter said. “Before, it wasn’t a great profession. You were looked down on if you were a chef; it was a low-level job. Now it’s a quality job.”

Students in the program are looking more towards the future in terms of the expansion. Sophomore Emily Nybakken who works in both the restaurant office and in front with the registers, specified a few things she hopes that will change.

“The front is kind of a mess, in all honesty,” Nybakken said. “There’s no nice way to organize it so we can have a nice line going through without all the food out in the open.”

Junior Jack Pierce who works mostly in the kitchen, cites a lack of space as one of the biggest issues that Restaurant 108 currently faces.

“More space would be nice,” Pierce said. “You have the grill, and the fryer, then you have frying pans for the eggs, and they’re making stuff over here and the microwave is right here. That gets kind of crowded.”

The genuine care that Carpenter has for the students in this program shows greatly in their enthusiasm while working for Restaurant 108. Even though he said that the program has produced some excellent chefs, he doesn’t believe that you have to be great at cooking to succeed in the program.

“I don’t care if a kid learns how to cook here or not, but I want them to be able to do things safely and correctly,” Carpenter said. “I don’t want them to hurt themselves, or their family or whomever they’re cooking for.”

Carpenter is impressed with the increased interest in Restaurant 108 by all students. Before the first expansion, he said that students in the program were lucky if they graduated.

“Now the kids that are coming out of this program, which has changed a lot, go to Cornell early admittance,” Carpenter said. “We would only get the basic students, but now we’re getting the AP students, we’re getting everybody. I welcome everybody into the program.”