On November 29, I had my first fine dining experience inside the Hospitality Management Laboratory of Christ the King College, courtesy of the event orchestrated by the junior students from the aforementioned program. The ticket costs P350.00, so when a friend reached out to sell me one, I hesitated because for a full-time college student, the price was heavy on the pocket. I debated whether to get one and trust that the experience would be worth it, or not bother because I still had other school fees that required my financial attention. Obviously, I chose the former, and it was definitely worth it.
The students of the Hospitality Management program opened the glass door of the HM Laboratory at 4 o’clock, but I entered the venue around 5 pm. Immediately, after the doorman welcomed and greeted me, I was transported to the floral intricacies of their theme, Rustic Boho.
The atmosphere was engulfed with the shades of bronze and bronze gold, with flowers vining at the frames in the center stage next to a huge #RUSTICBOHO centerpiece and jazz music playing in the background. The laboratory suddenly shifted into a restaurant, with Hospitality Management students dressed in brass uniforms standing beside the respective tables. I gathered they were the roster of servers for the night. I also eyed another group busying in the kitchen, the chefs, I thought.
Taking in the vibe of the room, my body relaxed, and I knew it would be the perfect spot for a date with myself.
They had the guests fill in their names in the registration form before escorting them to the table of their choice. Once I was settled on my seat, a Hospitality Management student approached me; she was my server for the evening. She offered me a welcome drink, which was a lemonade, but not the kind one can buy on the street. The description of the drink was a “perfect balance of sweet and tangy garnished with lemon,” and standing true to its description, it was indeed perfect and refreshing.
Afterwards, the server asked if I was ready for my appetizer, to which I nodded to affirm. From her tray, she placed a bowl of nachos on my table, a mouth-watering combination that had me wanting for more. Next plate on my table was their mushroom soup, “made with creamed button mushroom combined with a mix of herbs and spices topped with mushroom bits.” I admit I didn’t finish my serve of mushroom soup, not because it did not taste good but because my stomach yearned for a heavy meal. I signaled that I was ready for their main dish.
The main dish—Herby Chicken in Béchamel Sauce buttered with mixed vegetables—is a “fried breaded herby chicken fillet with béchamel sauce served with rice and a variety of vegetables sautéed in garlic butter added with a dash of lemon-pepper seasoning.” They also served their main drink, a passion fruit soda, which is a “natural flavored soda with a lightly carbonated fizz and subtly sweet, tropical passion fruit taste.” It was one of my favorites from the dinner experience; it not only offered satisfying quench but the visual of the drink was also aesthetically pleasing, fancy-looking. Lastly, I consumed their dessert, pineapple cheesecake, which was basically made of “alternate tea biscuits, whipped cream cheese frosting and pineapple chunks.”
As I sat at the table, eating and thinking, I realized how this Hospitality Management event showcased the brilliance and skills learned and acquired by the Hospitality Management students all throughout their years in the institution. The foods were delicious, and the servers were courteous and, indeed, hospitable to their guests.
Under the expert guidance of their subject instructor, Mr. Francis Gene Manlantao, MBM, who was also present in the said event and played an active role in the preparation process that led to the realization and, consequently, success of the event. Ms. Kaila Angelica Amper was also in attendance. The approval of their Program Dean, Mrs. Cheeney Marnelle L. Sasa, RSW, MSSW also made the event possible.
The students executed every detail of the event, demonstrating their prowess in hospitality management and culinary arts. This hands-on experience did not only highlight their academic acumen but also served as a testament to the talent and creativity of the next generation of hospitality professionals.
Having been raised in a middle-class family, I had no prior experience with the fanciness that awaited my dine that night. I had no expectation other than the three-course meal they promised as plastered on the ticket, but when I left the venue, clutching my leftovers in one hand and a satisfied smile on my face, I thought, “What a pleasurable experience that was! Might do it again!
***This article has undergone fact-checking and editing to fill in the necessary information.***
Words from the editor
Photos taken by Rhemus Guangco