Hennepin Technical College Culinary Students Create Own ‘Veggie Tale’
Culinary students at Hennepin Technical College creatively intertwined food, species preservation, and live theater into one daytime dining experience. It’s a special collaboration between Hennepin Technical College, On Stage, Mixed Blood Theatre, and Como Park and Zoo.
Lucas Erickson of On Stage helped coordinate the theater outreach experience meant to introduce the live arts to less likely audiences.
“It’s all about getting a nontraditional audience to go see theater. We typically don’t go into theater classes so we try to expand that audience as much as possible,” said Lucas Erickson, On Stage founder and program manager.
The vegetarian meals were inspired by the play, “Animate”, that is being performed at the Como Zoo. The production delves into the subject of animals and species preservation. Theater educators were in attendance to act out parts of the play for the students and some guests.
“We like to support them and they like to support us,” said Denis Durnev, chef at the college. “The full idea is they give us the idea of the theater in production and we come up with the menu.”
The culinary students made everything from lentil soup, eggplant stew, and potato salad to chocolate cake and jello. They also shared how their childhood experiences inspired their chosen dishes. It was an opportunity for them to also share their ideas and reactions to the production they based their menu off of.
The culinary arts students were able to use fresh herbs from the nearby vegetable garden too. The partnership with the Horticultural Department at Hennepin Technical College allows the culinary students to bring to life their farm to table approach to cooking.