The Frugalista Life

Living my best frugal life.

The Art Institute of Tampa teaches their culinary students the real deal

The Art Institute of Tampa is a branch of the Miami International University of Art & Design. The school offers several programs including film/production, fashion, and culinary arts. Their programs immerse students in the real deal so they know what’s in store for them once they graduate. I went to the campus with a friend a couple years ago when she told me about their on-campus restaurant called The Tutored Chef Restaurant. Culinary students learn and experience what it’s like to work in restaurants underneath the watchful eye of instructors.

The Art Institute of Tampa hosted me last week at The Tutored Chef for a tasting of their menu with Academic Chair Clyde Tanner. I told him we’d met a couple years ago and was surprised he remembered me.

The Tutored Chef is a small class environment with only 12 students and they learn everything about a restaurant from working the front of the house and back of it. Each quarter lasts 11 weeks so the first week is developing a menu with 9 weeks of serving and execution. Clyde told me there are times where he’ll sit in the back and students mistakenly walk past and not see them (he never holds it against them of course). Students feel what it’s like to work under pressure in a safe environment like getting orders out on time to handling the lunch rush. Clyde says the restaurant is the first time some students get exposure in the inner workings of a restaurant.

What’s really great about The Tutored Chef is it’s very inexpensive. Their lunch menu is under $12 for an entire meal and dinner is under $20. Can you imagine going to a gourmet restaurant and getting an ENTIRE MEAL for just $12? That doesn’t happen at all. Tanner and I tasted the ENTIRE MENU and, honestly, everything was great. My 3 favorite dishes from the day were the watermelon(I’ve been having a weird fruit craving as of late), the fried chicken, and both desserts. It’s clear the students are learning all the important details and putting all their notes into the food.

The restaurant is currently open only Monday-Wednesday 11:30-1:30 so if you don’t live or work nearby, you’re missing out big time. I appreciate what the instructors do for the students because it’s a great idea to get a hands-on experience in your career field. The students are allowed to make as many mistakes as they can before they get into the real deal.

Creativity is welcomed, allowed, and cultivated in this “classroom”. Here’s more photos:


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