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UVSC chefs ready to roll

Students will cater meals at posh lodge

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OREM — McDonald's may be a staple in a student's diet, but Big Macs and Egg McMuffins won't be on the menu at a posh Deer Valley lodge during the Olympics.

Even if college kids are in charge of the kitchen.

Visitors staying at Trails End lodge will be treated to such culinary delights as roasted eggplant bruschetta, carrot soup with cilantro and chili, oven-roasted pork chop with apple pear relish and fresh-pan seared sea scallops with walnut butter.

The cooks and servers will gladly accept compliments — and any generous tips to help cover next semester's tuition.

Culinary arts students and professors at Utah Valley State College have been hired to cater breakfast, lunch, dinner and receptions at the lodge, which will host an elite crowd during the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City in February.

UVSC culinary arts professor Greg Forte says about 15 students who have been in the program for at least a year will volunteer as much as 14 hours a day to prepare the meals.

The owner of a Deer Valley condo has offered the students free use of his place so they don't have to make a daily trek.

"It's exciting for them," said Forte. "In an indirect way, they are doing something for the Games."

Forte said students have spent the past two weeks writing menus and tweaking recipes with the program's chefs. A trial run was held last week. Some of the soups, entrees and desserts they plan to serve during the Olympics were served at Greg's, a small but cozy restaurant at the college where culinary arts students train during the school year.

The first steps of the meal preparation will be done at at the college's kitchen — all the slicing, dicing and chopping.

After the basic steps of the recipes are complete, the ingredients will be transported to the crew at the lodge.

Security officers at nearby Olympic venues already have warned Forte that they can inspect the food "at whim."

Forte said the still-in-training cooking corps couldn't prepare what is on the menu with the small stove and oven in the lodge's kitchen. So, they plan to use an outside grill.

"That will have to be the person who can best tolerate the cold," he said, watching students scurry about the kitchen.

This isn't just a learning lab for the prospective chefs.

It's a prime, paid catering job. UVSC plans to serve some 300 meals each day. Cost for all three meals is about $100.

Forte said money that remains in the bank account after expenses are paid will be funneled into a scholarship fund.

"I'm looking forward (to the catering job during the Olympics)," said student Jamie Fitzgarrald, as she decorated a cake with pieces of chocolate. "It will give us an experience in fine dining."


E-mail: jeffh@desnews.com