Fine dining enthusiasts only had three hours on Thursday morning to nab a reservation at the seasonal Grey Owl restaurant before all 1,300 seats were spoken for.
Kyle Zalluski, hotel and restaurant management instructor at the Manitoba Institute of Culinary Arts, said those lucky enough to get a seat will be treated to a similar experience as previous years.
"It’s certainly not just going out for dinner," Zalluski said. "This gives the general public a chance to step inside our classroom and experience the students while they demonstrate and showcase their skills."
Along with being served by students in the culinary arts and restaurant and hotel management programs, guests will also get to experience the ambiance that the Grey Owl calls home. The restaurant is located in a Victorian dining hall on the Assiniboine Community College’s North Hill campus and will seat 65 people a night from Jan. 21 to Feb. 15.
"More importantly, it’s our classroom, and that’s a neat part of what we do," he said. "Being able to interact with students is a unique experience for guests."
Preparations for this year’s Grey Owl fine dining experience are already well underway as students continue to tweak the food, beverage and dessert menus, and start rehearsing for opening night.
"There’s certainly some nerves, but it’s all positive, they’re excited and nervous about the undertaking but luckily the first-year students will be able to rely on the second-year students who have already gone through a Grey Owl in the past."
Some highlights from the menu this year include beet cured salmon blini, pumpkin and crab apple bisque and roasted Canadian veal loin chop marsala.
Salads once again this year will include products grown by horticulture students in the college’s greenhouse, a partnership that Zalluski said they are looking forward to extending in the future.
"It’s still in the process of opening, and that opens up opportunity to partner with the horticulture students, bringing in local produce into the students’ menu design."