A high school project that has never been done before successfully took off this week without a hitch. Twelve students from Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School spent months planning, designing logos, writing a concept proposal and developing a menu and recipes.
At transformed empty kitchen at a Remington food hall, the students finally had the opportunity to serve their first customer on Wednesday. The students decided on the name “Noisy Burger” for their temporary restaurant, which will remain open until May 2. The students will take on rotating roles needed to make the restaurant operate efficiently, cashiers, cooks and managers.
Commercial baking and culinary arts programs at five Baltimore high schools, including Edmondson-Westside, Mervo and Carver Vocational Technical provides training for an estimated 500 city students.
Director of college and career readiness for Baltimore City Public Schools, Michael D. Thomas, said students are trained in commercial-grade cafes and kitchens, get real life experience and earn industry certificates. The students get the opportunity to host sorority function, cater events for the mayor’s office, government luncheons and student events at their school cafes.
Graduates are urged to report back to the district on whether they were successful in finding work in the field. According to Thomas, 85 percent of the students that graduated from the food and beverage management program in 2016 reported getting jobs. An estimated 75 percent of the graduates from the baking program also landed jobs.
Noisy Tenants, a community group that works to connect schools, neighborhood leaders and schools on projects, worked in collaboration with teacher and Chef Natasha Blake-McDowell and Mervo to pull the project off. The proceeds from the restaurant will be split, 90 percent will cover the operating costs and 10 percent will be invested in food to stock a refrigerator at a Greenmount West Community center.