Valentine dinner serves romantics, raises money for department


File Photo / The Advocate

Pinole resident Carol Jenning (right) enjoys conversation with a friend during the 2nd Annual Cupid’s Season Dinner on Feb. 11, 2016.

By Jessica Suico, Assistant news editor

For anyone still looking for a destination for their Valentine’s Day dinner, the culinary arts department is hoping to be their final decision.

Aqua Terra Grill will be the location of the Cupid’s Season Dinner tonight from 5-8 p.m. where guests will be treated to a five-course meal with one glass of champagne.

Culinary arts department Chairperson Nader Sharkes said a ticket into the dinner is $35 per person. He said they have 40 reservations already, nearly a full house.

Sharkes said the money raised by the dinner goes back into the culinary arts department to pay the expenses of holding the dinner and other expenses the department accrues.

Instructional assistant Angel Chau said the dinner is open to the community.

The appetizer will be burrata with speck, peas and mint, kumamoto oysters with ponzu granita and tobiko caviar.

The entrée will be New York steak with chipotle chocolate glaze, mashed golden potatoes and late-winter vegetables. Fudgy chocolate layer cake with strawberry sauce and assorted cheese plate for two will be the dessert, completing the night’s meal.

Beverages served will be hot and iced tea, coffee and a glass of champagne.

Sharkes said the department has been hosting events for six years, starting back when Three Seasons Restaurant was open in the Applied Arts Building.

Criminal justice major Valeria Condori said, “I think it’s great that the culinary department is hosting a dinner like this. It gets students involved with more things on campus and I think it’s really cool.”

Sharkes said, “Our students thought it would be a really cool thing to have a Valentine’s Day themed dinner for our campus.”

The students involved are volunteering their time to be a part of this event. Sharkes said it’s more practice for them in a restaurant setting.

He said the skills students apply while working at the dinner will be the same skills they will need to use while at any professional restaurant.

“I have a responsible staff and faculty here in the culinary department. They pretty much planned this whole dinner,” Sharkes said.

Students who complete the culinary arts program will be attractive candidates for job openings and promotions in the culinary arts field through the skills, strong personal work ethic and outstanding demonstration of acquired culinary skills.

Chau said, ”What I am looking forward to about this dinner is our guests having a great time. It also gives us a chance to promote the culinary arts program and its quality food.”

Condori said, “I remember clubs and the culinary department giving out free food and I thought that was a really cool and smart way to get students interested and involved with things happening on campus.”