Highlander Cafe Gives Students 'Real Life' Restaurant Experience
For 31 years, the culinary arts program has prepared Somerville students for careers in professional kitchens.
Tom Cardon started the program 31 years ago, and at a soft opening Wednesday he explained that the program trains students to become professional chefs and bakers.
At Highlander Cafe, about 30 students work in the kitchen and run the house. Cardon designed the kitchen to meet industry standards so students can enter professional kitchens and know their way around.
Leo Desimone, vocational director at Somerville High School, said the Highlander Cafe experience is like "real life."
What's more, partnerships with nearby institutions have sent recent culinary arts program students to some well-known places, such as the executive suites at Fenway Park, the TD Garden and Tufts University.
As for the food, it's inexpensive and healthy. "Everything is made fresh the day of," said Desimone. The cafe sells meals at cost, and all the proceeds go back into the program.
Like any restaurant, "We'd like to see our business increase," said Desimone.
The Highlander Cafe, which is located in the high school, is open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call (617) 625-6600 x6232 to order ahead. You can also visit www.somerville.k12.ma.us./cafe to make reservations and see the current menu.