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(Rome, GA) – There is a place in Rome, Georgia, that serves international cuisine in an elegant dining area located in a turn of the century plantation-style house.

It is part of the Culinary Arts program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) which exposes students to a wide array of international influences and advanced cooking methods.

As part of the curriculum, the program has been offering culinary luncheons to the public two days a week throughout the fall semester featuring American, English, and French style service.

“We were sold out for the rest of the year about halfway through the semester,” said Chef Greg Paulson, director of the Culinary Arts program at GNTC. “People enjoyed coming and they would tell their friends and more and more people continued to make reservations.”

The Culinary Arts program is taught in the Woodlee Building at the Floyd County Campus of GNTC. The Building is an early 20th century dwelling that has been renovated and updated to include a first-class teaching kitchen, commercial-grade equipment, and a refined serving area.

Bekki Fox, community development director for the City of Rome, found out about the luncheons through word-of-mouth. Fox and her colleagues wanted to have a luncheon for senior citizens at the Woodlee Building as part of a function for the South Rome Redevelopment Corporation.

“We do something every year to give back to the community,” said Fox. “So we thought we would buy out an entire day’s worth of tickets to one of the luncheons that was open to the public.”

When she talked to Chef Paulson, however, she found out that tickets were already pre-sold for all the scheduled luncheons. So Paulson added an additional luncheon to the calendar as a closed event specifically for The South Rome Redevelopment Corporation.

“It’s just amazing that GNTC has a program of that caliber and has those facilities in place to be able to offer students real-life experience in serving, putting together the tables, and the decorations. From the time we walked in we were literally treated like royalty until we left,” said Fox. “I have been to a lot of restaurants, even five star restaurants, and they treated us better than any place I have ever been.”

According to Clarrisa Adams, a culinary major from Cedartown, the luncheons provide the best practical experience possible for a culinary student.

“It is the best feeling ever, you get the hands-on experience of working in a restaurant and get to see people’s reaction to your food,” said Adams. “Also, you get to come up with a theme and menu; it’s a wonderful, great experience.”

The Culinary Arts luncheons will return in the spring semester and dinners will be offered in the summer.

“You can lecture all you want about banquets, preparation, and table service but when you actually physically do it you’re getting some really true live experience,” said Paulson. “That’s why we offer it to the public and it’s one of the huge successes of this class.”

For more information on the culinary luncheons, go to GNTC’s main web page at www.gntc.edu and look under upcoming events. If you care to make a reservation, contact Chef Greg Paulson at 706.295.6880 or via email at gpualson@gntc.edu.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College serves Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Murray, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties in Georgia with campuses located in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties. Approximately 16,000 people benefit from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs, making it the largest college in Northwest Georgia and the fifth largest technical college in Georgia.

Clarrisa Adams (right) of Cedartown and T’Lia McKoy (left) of Rome prepare a mirepoix to be used in Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy).
Clarrisa Adams (right) of Cedartown and T’Lia McKoy (left) of Rome prepare a mirepoix to be used in Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy).