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Tolland High's Le Petit Gateau Offers a Full Dining Experience

The students of the school's Culinary II class cook and serve in the high school's kitchen and dining room facilities.

The chefs and the students may be located at Tolland High School, but the Le Petit Gateau restaurant is no cafeteria.

The students of Lauren DeBlois' Culinary II class are running a self-sustained, sit-down restaurant: planning, preparing and serving meals every Friday starting at 10:30 a.m. in their very own kitchen and dining facilities.

The class worked together to produce chicken parmesan, cream of broccoli and cheddar soup and chocolate with fresh strawberries last Friday, led by classmate Shawna Gaffney.

"It just popped into my head," Gaffney said, when asked what inspired her menu choice. According to DeBlois, the students start off the year coming up with menu selections, extrapolating a single serving of their choice into mass production for around 30 diners and then delegating the preparation tasks amongst their classmates.

DeBlois said that Friday's meal went well, especially because the class had a practice meal the week before.

"This is our maiden run," she said, while supervising the chefs in the kitchen, dish washers and servers who waited on the residents and family members assembled in the soft-lit dining room. 

Gaffney's grandparents, Ann and Bob Pellegatto, stopped by to enjoy their granddaughter's culinary skills.

"We really enjoyed the soup," Ann said. Bob added that their granddaughter will certainly be asked to cook more at home so the whole family can enjoy her improved skills.

DeBlois, however, feels that the class teaches more than just cooking basics, although she does not downplay the importance of teaching students how to cook for themselves!

"It teaches them the importance of working together as a team," she said. "They're really learning skills they can transfer into a work environment."

The students in the class also receive credit from Manchester Community College.

Le Petit Gateau, which translates approximately to the Little Cupcake, has been open for close to two years now, according to DeBlois, who herself attended Tolland High School and took the culinary classes.

In the past, the restaurant has featured delicious work from the and has for groups in the community.

The class will serve lunch every Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. for a $5 charge. , next week's meal will be four cheese baked penne, a tomato, basil and buffalo mozzarella salad with lemon cake with whipped cream for dessert.

Call Lauren DeBlois at 860-870-6818 extensino 235 for more information.

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