A proven team pulls off yet another success.
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Livin’ la Vita Nova
UD students run the show at one of the area’s best restaurants.
Get a good look at the youthful server portioning out an intermezzo of homemade sorbet at Vita Nova, the University of Delaware’s student-run restaurant. He might turn out to be the next Stephen Starr, Georges Perrier or Matt Haley.
Vita Nova (17 W. Main St., Newark, 831-0500), which opens its doors this month for the semester, is part training ground for UD’s Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management students and part fully functioning upscale restaurant inside the Trabant Student Center in the heart of campus.
Through a combo of lecture series, expert training and on-the-job schooling, students learn the ins and outs of running a restaurant. They rotate through 17 different positions during the semester, from prep cook to server to manager and back again, learning the ropes of inventory, kitchen basics, service, management and business.
But this isn’t some institutional, second-rate operation. The kitchen creates its signature crème brûlée and sumptuous crab cakes, while in the dining room, classic Caesar salad is prepared tableside as a team of students circulates with a basket of selected wines from the state-of-the-art, redwood-paneled Vinotek. Mushrooms from Kennett Square are used in dishes, and dairy products from the UD’s agricultural studies barn is used to make ice cream.
It’s also a bargain. Buffet-style lunch at Vita Nova costs $14.95. A four-course dinner ranges from $26 to $39. “People are pleasantly surprised,” says Julie Fagan, director of restaurant operations, and one of only four full-time faculty members who work and teach at Vita Nova. “Most of the guests really enjoy the interaction, getting a chance to talk to the students.” —Matt Amis
Page 6: Hoagie's Heroes | A Philly sandwich maker hopes to stake a claim on the Delaware sub set.