September 2, 2010
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Food & Wine Classic offers unique “classroom” for hospitality students
The Viking Stage at the annual Food & Wine Classic will serve as a learning tool for students working at the 6th Annual Food & Wine Classic on Sept. 10-12.
Class will be in session for about 80 students in the Metropolitan State College of Denver Hospitality, Tourism and Events Department when they work at the 6th Annual Food & Wine Classic on Sept. 10-12.
Though students have volunteered at the campus event in the past for extra credit, this will be the first year that their weekend of real-world experience will be written into their class syllabus, according to John Dienhart, chair of the department.
It will also be the first year the College will be one of the recipients of the event’s proceeds.
“Last year, students volunteered on a variety of tasks including preparing desserts to hand out. We found when we did that, we also became involved in selling tickets and raising funds,” says Dienhart. “This year, we’ve worked it out so that anything we sell we get a percentage on, and these funds go toward our student scholarships."
Presented by Southern Wine & Spirits of Colorado and the Colorado Restaurant Association Education Foundation, the event offers a sampling of more than 600 featured wines, signature spirits and cuisine from Denver’s finest restaurants, a wine auction and a Denver Chef culinary showcase.
It’s a marquee event for the department and the College, according to HTE Professor Michael Wray, who is director of restaurant management. “This is the second-largest festival in Colorado behind Aspen Food and Wine. And it’s the largest wine festival on a college campus.”
The South Beach Food and Wine festival in Florida is bigger, he says, but it is not held on a college campus. In that respect, Metro State students have a unique opportunity for applied-learning activities. It’s what they have asked for, says Wray. "My students have told me this is one of their more valuable experiences. So, instead of me lecturing about the industry, now they get to see the real world. Students sell tickets, work the ticket booth, and organize and check people in. They also intern with a distributor for a day, helping set up their booths and market products."
An event as large as this will also have a “green” element, where some students will monitor the recycling habits of the vendors for the event, and contribute to the goal of reducing landfill waste by 20 percent, Wray adds.
Not only will students have a variety of activities to choose from for class assignments, they may be able to pick a day as well. Friday features seminars. Saturday offers professional booths, and Sunday sees the students serving as food-wine ambassadors at local restaurants, according to Cindy OnkenGlimm, affiliate faculty member, who is helping to coordinate student activities for the weekend.
Director of Culinary Management Jackson Lamb is the health and safety inspector for the Grand Tasting. Volunteer coordinators include affiliate faculty members Kurt Mayo and Bruce Warner, and Ray Moroye, director of hospitality entrepreneurship.
For more information and ticket prices for the following events, visit the HTE department.
Friday, Sept. 10
“Wine Seminars” at Metro State’s Plaza Building, 1-6 p.m.
“Art of the Cocktail Concert” at Historic 9th Street Park, 6-9 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 11
The "Grand Tasting" on Lawrence Way, Noon-4 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 12
The Magnificent Food and Wine Dine-Around, 6-8 p.m.
(Students will serve as ambassadors at the following restaurants: 1515 Restaurant, Il Posto, Root Down, Vines Wine Bar and Asti d’Italia)