UNLV Epicurean Society
The Fall 2019 semester for Epicurean Society continues to be full of activities for its members. The Epicurean leadership team has been delighted by all of the exciting and different opportunities they and members have had the opportunity to participate in. This month, members not only had the chance to join in on entertaining food outings, but also the opportunity to enhance their skills in the industry. The group is not slowing down anytime soon.
While discussing where our members wanted to go for their outing this month, the topic of Downtown Fremont came up. A large group of our members are still new to the area or had simply never visited the Downtown area yet. The Downtown Fremont scene is still unknown to many guests visiting Las Vegas; it provides a very unique and dynamic dining experience that is a must-see.
We collectively decided that the Downtown Container Park would be the perfect area for members to have some options while also allowing us to still dine together. The Downtown Container Park offers a unique experience that offers entertainment, food and even shopping. And, once you’re in the general area, it’s hard to miss it. As you enter, you are greeted by a very large praying mantis art installation that shoots fire to music. After we all arrived, we fought the cold to take the time to check out what the area had to offer. Due to their unique selection of restaurants, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Currently, their restaurant selection includes: Berries & Beans, Big Earn’s BBQ, BIN 702, Cheffini’s Hot Dogs, Downtown Terrace, Pizza Zazza and Simply Pure. You can also find storefronts offering beef jerky, kettle corn, candy and gelato.
We all set out to find a dish we wanted to try, and then meet up again to enjoy together. One of our favorites was the gourmet hot dogs from Cheffini’s; they offer a multitude of unique toppings you don’t usually see, from dried seaweed to their signature quail egg. Not only does the Container Park offer quality food, they also have a vibrant atmosphere with an array of seating options. There is also a play area centered in the area, a small stage with a grassy area and plenty of places to socialize with friends. It was another wonderful opportunity to discover new things and share a meal with a quality group of people.
In addition to enjoying good food together, we have also enjoyed participating in events together this month. Chef Mark Sandoval, with the UNLV Harrah College of Hospitality, requested that our leadership team recruit members to volunteer for a special event he was working on. The Hospitality College had the honor of hosting an intimate dinner for Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the world’s oldest international gastronomic society, founded in Paris in 1248. The group is dedicated preserving and promoting excellence in all areas of the hospitality arts. While they offer fantastic benefits to members, they also sponsor young chef competitions and aid in providing scholarships for students in the hospitality industry.
We took this as an exciting opportunity for members to gain new skills and experience a full five-course meal. Many of our Epicurean members have never experienced such an event. Training before the big event entailed an hour-long session to understand Michelin Star service. None of us had ever had the opportunity to participate in Michelin Star service; we all sincerely enjoyed learning these new skills together as one team.
On the day of the event, Epicurean members assisted in all areas of the dinner. Members began with setting up the correct table setting, showing members what a five-course table setting should look like. Our members also thoroughly enjoyed the chance to see the back of house operation as well. Chef Sandoval and Chef Stephanie Bogert had an excellent team providing dynamic plates.
The five-course dinner included: Golden Beet Napoleon, Puree of Potato and Leek Soup, Seared Diver Scallops, Roasted Quail and Apple and Pear Sachet. The wine for the evening was paired by Master Sommelier Joseph Phillips, another exciting opportunity for our over-21 members to learn proper wine service.
All involved Epicurean members truly took their training to heart and were able to provide excellent guest service. Our biggest challenge was conducting dinner service in synch with each other. This required significant communication and teamwork. This showed as participants were able to come together beforehand to prepare. Despite this being everyone’s first Michelin-style service, everyone provided outstanding service to the guests. Our team received nothing but excellent feedback. It just goes to show, as long as you have a passion and love for the industry, you can truly thrive in it coming together with your team.