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Students prepare for a Friday Night Café in this 2016 photo. Northwest students studying dietetics, nutrition and food service management will again host two Friday Night Café this fall, featuring the foods of Greece and Thailand. (Northwest Missouri State University photos)

Students prepare for a Friday Night Café in this 2016 photo. Northwest students studying dietetics, nutrition and food service management will again host two Friday Night Café this fall, featuring the foods of Greece and Thailand. (Northwest Missouri State University photos)

Oct. 22, 2018

Dietetic students offer international fare at annual Friday Night Café

By Tara Garcia, communication assistant

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The third flood of Northwest's Administration Building will be transformed for Friday Night Cafés, hosted by student studying dietetics, nutrition and food service management.

The third flood of Northwest's Administration Building will be transformed for Friday Night Cafés, hosted by student studying dietetics, nutrition and food service management.

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Northwest Missouri State University students studying dietetics, nutrition and food service management will host Friday Night Café this fall, serving guests with internationally inspired meals and décor.

Students will offer two café nights featuring the cuisine of Greece on Nov. 2 and Thailand on Nov. 9. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., and meals are served from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the third floor of the Administration Building.

Tickets are $12 plus fees and tax and are available online at www.nwmissouri.edu/rsvp/NWFridayNightCafe. Seating is limited to 60 guests per evening.

The Greek-themed night will feature home-style moussaka and Kalamata pork tenderloin with a variety of salads and sides of fasolakia (Greek green beans), rosemary and sage roasted carrots, psomi bread and spanakorizo. Desserts will include chocolate baklava, strawberry semifredo, portokali cake and holiday kourabiedes.

The menu for Thailand will include basil chicken, peanut sauced pork, a vegetable medley with a slight kick, fried rice and traditional roti bread. Desserts include tropical fruit, spring roll wrapped bananas, coconut macaroons and an espresso bread pudding.

Dylan Richardson, a senior foods and nutrition major from Savannah, Missouri, is working with the Greek team for the event. He believes that Friday Night Café helps dietetics students get hands-on experience and prepares them for success in the food service field.

“These two nights are the culmination of all the work we have done during this semester for quantity foods and the quality of décor, cuisine and service,” Richardson said. “It really shows how hard we’ve worked.”

Friday Night Café satisfies the lab requirement for students enrolled in Northwest’s quantity foods course, taught by Karen From, a senior instructor of nutrition and dietetics.

“This is a hands-on class for the students,” From said. “They have had two previous food service management courses and this is their senior course where they put everything they have learned to the test. Students work in management teams of seven students for each night, focusing on the five functions of management, food safety and sanitation, customer service, menu planning and design, purchasing, budgeting and authentic ambience of the country. This project reinforces knowledge and concepts they have gained in previous courses but hones their management and people-skill strengths while highlighting areas where they may be weak and need more experience.”

Participating students select Friday Night Café themes based on their research of countries, cultures and cuisines that interest them.

Lisa Orr, a senior foods and nutrition major from Cameron Missouri, says preparing for Friday Night Café has been an impactful learning experience.

“The Friday Night Café experience helps solidify the knowledge we gained and teaches us how to think critically, using skills we learned,” Orr said. “Our strengths and weaknesses are revealed through the process, allowing us to uncover areas of opportunities and continued focus. Interpersonal skills are put to the test as we communicate through verbal and non-verbal cues, negotiate, make decisions as a group, problem solve and mediate. I love how this opportunity has allowed me to take my learned classroom knowledge and put it into use in a practical situation, translating book knowledge into real-life application.”

Ryan Gochenour, a senior foods and nutrition major from Missouri Valley, Iowa, believes the key to efficiency is good communication with group members.

“When working with others, you must be able to be completely honest and open with everyone in order to accomplish the goals,” Gochenour said. “I enjoyed getting to know my classmates more. We have worked a lot on this project all semester, and even though I have had many different classes with the same students, I feel like this project has given me the opportunity to get to know them on another level. Without the ability to work with others, we would not be able to be successful in this project. I think that translates into any career setting.”

Brianna Russell, a senior dietetics major from Clarinda, Iowa, has gained leadership skills, organization, planning and learned about the managerial process.

“My favorite part about quantity foods and Friday Night Café has been the experience of learning about my strengths and weaknesses as a leader, building stronger relationships with my classmates and being able to apply everything I have learned from my past management classes to a real-life situation,” Russell said. “I learned a lot about my managerial style, how to voice my opinion and ideas, communicate with a multitude of people and what my planning and organizational skills are. I know how to use them in a way that works for everyone.”

Rebecca Phillips, a senior dietetics major from Grimes, Iowa, believes the project helps reinforce the importance of communication and working together as a group.

“This class has taught me the skills of working together as a group and being able to combine our ideas and compromise to have the overall best result for our team,” Phillips said. “Our quantity foods class is built around Friday Night Café and most of assignments coincide with the event.”

All aspects of the evening – including the theme, menu selection, pricing and décor – are prepared by management teams of students. The experience allows them to practice skills in safe and healthy food preparation as well as management, teamwork, organization, budgeting, crisis management and gathering feedback.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468