MÉRIDA, YUCATÁN – Time flies, and it will soon be time to enjoy the latest student operated restaurant concept at the Swiss based Glion Institute of Higher Education located on the campus of Universidad del Valle de Mexico in Mérida.
Maybe you visited “La Esmeralda”, which operated during the spring semester? If you missed it, or if you visited and enjoyed it, now is your chance to try “La Casa Azul”.
The menu will be international themed, influenced by Mexican flavors and products. Breakfast choices will include hot cakes, chilaquiles, Mexican omelet, and ‘Huevos Canasta’, a sandwich containing fried eggs on a bed of pasilla chile, served with beans and new potatoes. Lunch selections include guacamole or a dip of chile xcatic as appetizers, while entrees will range from tortilla soup, house salad, beef and chicken dishes, to enchiladas with chipotle sauce, and poblano chile ‘rajas’. Desserts will include crepes with caramel sauce, and a chocolate and crème caramel cake. Bottled sodas, coffee, and ‘horchata’ will be offered to drink, as well as the specialty of the house, cucumber lemonade. Prices, as always, will be accessible, since students from the campus are the main customers.
The dining room is small, with only 40 seats, but is the perfect size for the students to manage. The service is casual but professional and the restaurant is fully operated by the students. Chef Gregory Fryer, the Food and Beverage teacher at UVM helps guide the students through their operation but lets them learn from their challenges. In his own words: “I do not do it for them, they need to learn for themselves. Some of the best learning comes from making mistakes. Learn and then move on to the next challenge.”
The hospitality course at UVM is a 9 semester B.A. degree program, and in the second semester the students have the opportunity to operate a restaurant of their own creation. In the first semester, they learn culinary skills, food safe practices, menu creation, costing, budgeting, marketing and human resources. At same time they also study English and French. By the end of the first semester the students present restaurant proposals and the winning concept in implemented in the second semester. La Casa Azul, a tribute to Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, is this October’s concept, and is the brain child of Deysi Diaz, Shirley López, Suleimy Rios, Abril Rodríguez and Esteban Romero, five students out of a class of eighteen studying hospitality.
During the operation of the restaurant the students learn the tools needed for cost controls, managing inventories, ordering and receiving, communication, staff motivation, marketing and great customer service. They also learn how to create Profit and Loss Statements and then analyze the data. Once the restaurant closes the students use what they learned for new strategy development in future classes.
La Casa Azul will open October 13, 2014 and run until November 7, 2014. Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. Breakfast will be served from 9am to noon, lunch from noon to 4pm. Drinks and desserts will be served all day.
Mark your calendars now, for a chance to enjoy some great food, support the students, and have a glimpse behind the walls of one of Mérida’s best universities.
To reach UVM, head north on the highway towards Progreso, and shortly after passing the periferico, take the Dzitya exit, make a u-turn, and head back towards Merida. You will see UVM on the right. Enter through the gates, park, and then walk back to the Glion building, which is right next to the gate. Visit http://www.facebook.com/LaCasaAzulGLION for more information.
By Stewart Mandy
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Born in Europe, raised in the Middle East, and a long-time resident in the Americas, Stewart has been based in Mérida, Yucatan since 2010, and has lived and worked worldwide in the media, travel, tourism and transportation industries for well over 20 years. His local contacts and global knowledge provide him with unmatched access to the stories ‘behind the stories’ and he likes to take you to the places that others don’t or won’t go. From the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego, from Moscow to Melbourne, from Bergen to Buenos Aires, Stewart has been there. Chances are, wherever you are heading, he knows the score.
In addition to The Yucatan Times, Stewart contributes (or has contributed) to “The Examiner” (www.examiner.com), “Business Briefings”, “Cruise & Ferry Magazine” and “The Apollo Magazine”. He is a former editor of “rolling pin CRUISE” magazine.
He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. You can join him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meridawriter, follow him on Twitter @stewartmandy or visit his website at www.stewartmandy.com or his blog at http://tolocsandaluxes.blogspot.mx/
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