There’s no better way to learn than getting hands-on, real experience. At Garland ISD, the students are getting skills for tomorrow’s jobs today.
Thank you to the students, staff and City of Garland for their hospitality and sponsoring this eye-opening post.
When a private invite for an extraordinary six-course Mardi Gras meal comes to your inbox, you say “oui.”
But when you find out the hands that are going to make said meal are those of high school students, you go wondering if you’re part of an episode of Top Chef Junior.
But when I walked into the doors of The Bistro at Garland ISD Gilbreath-Reed Career and Technical Center, I figured out this was not the high school experience I remembered. Not by a long shot.
The Bistro is the student-led restaurant operated by the students of the Culinary Arts and Hospitality programs. The restaurant give students wishing to work in the restaurant, hotel, tourism industries not only hands-on opportunity for planning, preparing, serving and designing, but also certifications that can get them a job the minute they graduate – or in many cases – a job right after they leave for the day on campus. The benefit for the community is now a new place to have breakfast Wednesday – Friday, 8 AM – 1 am and lunch, 11 am – 2 pm with very affordable pricing like $8 jambalaya and $6 gumbo.
Led by Director Etienne Walker and taught by Chefs Rob Richards and Alex Bar-Sela, the students really went to the next level to give us the royal treatment to remember with decor and an elevated hospitality experience as they served us each with an offering of the drink de jour, the Smokin’ Jamba Juice served with frozen grapes and a dry ice “icicle” or the Mardi Gras Smoothie, layered perfectly for the occasion.
And the menu, which was served for the day’s special debut, was brought out to each guest with both presentation and outstanding taste. I mean this wasn’t just homemade cooking, this one upscale culinary skills like exemplified with the sugar crisp that hugged the baby ontop of a bread pudding with a dollop of cream was really delicious, but each of the entrees were just THAT GOOD.
While I had a very full and happy belly thanks to these students, learning that this state-of-the-art training center, which opened in August 2017, was just two of 90 advanced programs available to students had really whet my appetite. The school, which supports all seven home high schools, gives real-world experience to students in careers from everything medical, investments, architectural, marketing, engineering, firefighting, logistics, and automotive mechanics.
But this school exists through a lot of diligent work with the municipal and business communities. Working hand in hand with the City of Garland, having a school of choice program on this level, makes it attractive for all the area students to want to be a part of the school system. And the corporate world sees the benefits as well, which is why many well-known companies invest time and money to these students to prepare them for careers inside their own doors one day.
Each “classroom” looked nothing like a traditional classroom, but a slice of the “real world” and in some cases beyond. For instance, this program is the only high school in the world partnered with Harley Davidson motorcycles for the Battle of the Kings to custom build a 2019 bike and have it compete against other groups from all over the world.
While they won’t let you enroll at GRCTC as an adult (I know I was ready to enroll), they do invite visitors to dine at The Bistro. And of course, there’s always the bigger benefit that we are getting tomorrow’s workforce ready for careers, today.
Gilbreath-Reed Career and Technical Center
4885 N President George Bush Hwy
Garland, TX 75040