College serves up culinary feast |

College serves up culinary feast

Rice bowls are in. Pizzas are out.

The Lake Tahoe Community College cafeteria has opened, giving students choices among rice bowls, Philly cheese steaks, hamburgers and a salad bar between their studies.

Cafeteria officials said healthier choices or exotic choices such as stir fries seem to be all the rage, with the traditional college fare of pizza, not as high on the food chain.

The cafeteria, open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., additionally serves as the culinary arts classroom. Starting second quarter, the cafeteria will intertwine some products from Steve Fernald’s culinary arts program such as soups and chili, said Jonathan Kaspar, food services manager.

Llayla Kuntze was working the salad bar beside Jack Boyar. Kuntze, an LTCC student, said business has been good, but could be better.

“I don’t know if a lot of students know about it yet,” she said.

Esta Lewin knew about it. It was the first cafeteria visit for the LTCC counselor. She ordered a salad with more than four items and a dollop of olive oil. Total cost: $4.50.

“It’s beautiful,” Lewin said about the cafeteria. “I think it will create a better collegiate atmosphere.”

Boyar, the self-described “salad guy,” said his 12-year-old son, Alex, gave the cafeteria his thumbs-up when he tasted the chicken tenders and french fries.

“He said they were the best fries,” Boyar said. “Better than McDonald’s or Burger King.”

The cafeteria employs six part-time workers for each breakfast and lunch session. A broiler can cook up to 50 steaks for banquets. There are nine soda options, four choices of juice and four coffee dispensers.

Once students and faculty get their food, there is a choice of 37 tables in a high-ceilinged room that can hold about 160 people. Six computers coax Internet surfers. A fireplace warms the dining area when snow falls outside the wall of windows.

After 2:30 p.m. the cafeteria stops serving hot food and switches to cold food, such as sandwiches.

LTCC President Guy Lease was seen approaching the cafeteria Wednesday afternoon to get his food fix.

“One of the reasons we wanted to put a cafeteria in is to keep students on campus,” he said.

There will be a grand opening ceremony for the public Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. The only cost will be for wine, including a 2000 vintage of Trout Creek cabernet sauvignon that took bronze at the California State Fair this summer.

Food from about 20 countries will be available, said Peter Arcuri, an LTCC winemaking instructor.

“It’s going to be a wonderful time,” Arcuri said. “The college and town needed this.”

Yeni Davila, who sat with two friends, agreed. The trio was enjoying hamburgers.

“If you don’t have time to eat, now you have a place to eat,” Davila said.

William Ferchland may be reached via e-mail at

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