By Darlene Carey
Opportunities for culinary arts students and downtown dining take a leap forward June 7 with the grand opening of the Mott Community College Culinary Arts Institute, in a renovated historic building at the corner of Saginaw and Second streets downtown.
After a public ribbon cutting ceremony at noon, the doors officially open from 1 to 3 p.m. The public will be invited to tour the historic F.W. Woolworth building at 550 S. Saginaw St., and meet celebrity chef Carla Hall of the television show “The Chew.”
Dawn Hibbard, MCC marketing and communications specialist, said Hall is scheduled to participate in the ribbon cutting and then be available to meet visitors touring the culinary institute from 1 to 3 p.m.
Postponed by several construction delays, Hibbard said building is complete and equipment and utensils have been moved from the former campus facility to the new site.
The 36,000-square-foot building, a former Woolworth’s built in 1920, includes state-of-the-art culinary kitchens, baking and pastry kitchens, a meat fabrication laboratory, a confections laboratory, and a garde mangér (a specially ventilated cool area for preparing cold dishes), according to the MCC website.
It also eventually will incorporate a relocated Applewood Cafe, renamed Applewood at Second and Saginaw, the restaurant run by students in the culinary arts program.
Asked how the celebrity guest chef knew about the MCC event, Hibbard said Lennetta Coney, president of the Foundation for Mott Community College, had met Hall at an event and exchanged contact information.
“As we were preparing for the.. grand opening, Ms. Coney reached out to Carla Hall and invited to her come for the event,” Hibbard said.
Other guests scheduled to join the celebration will be Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, State Senator James Ananich, representatives from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), representatives from the Mott Foundation, retired culinary faculty and current faculty,” Hibbard said.
Maps for self-guided tours will be provided at the opening, Hibbard said, adding “Culinary faculty and students will be stationed throughout the building to explain the various labs and their functions.”
To the all-important question: will there be food, Hibbard replied, “There will be some food, but in limited quantities.”
A few summer classes already have begun in the facility, Hibbard said, adding it will begin full operation — including the opening of Applewood at Second and Saginaw in the fall semester. More information is available at the Mott Community College Culinary Institute website at https://www.mcc.edu/business/bus-culinary.shtml.
EVM Staff Writer Darlene Carey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.