For a bit of a noisy but really good lunch, head out to Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute every second Thursday at noon, dig in to tasty food and sit back and listen to up-and-coming musical artists.
The Restless Red Hawk Café, located in the front foyer of the school, highlights six of its programs in that short two-hour time slot.
On Thursday, Nov. 24, Ben Seward and Kevin Baker strummed some familiar music to the filled tables; students lined the windows, clapping and cheering, and everyday school pretty much carried on around this eclectic bunch of music and food appreciators. As well as the high school musicians, local and area bands, on occasion, are asked to come into the school and play.
The menu this day had a Mexican theme – guacamole with fresh tortillas, Mexican rolls with enchilada sauce, and churros dusted with cinnamon and sugar (or key lime pie) for dessert. Jeff Burns, head chef in the hospitality course, lists other themes they’ve explored this year like celebrating the harvest, east Indian and, of course, fast-approaching Christmas. He says this café gives his hospitality students a chance to “experience real life.” Things as basic as putting the server’s name on the order prevents confusion, he grins. In a more serious tone, he calls his students rock stars, and gives them all the credit for planning, cooking and serving the food at the music noon hours.
Then there’s Doug Miller, a Wood Shop teacher, as complimentary and enthusiastic as Burns. All the table tops in the café were made in the woodwork shop. Miller says students are working on platters for serving the food, some of which will be cut on the oblong for a more appealing look. He says they’ve worked on spatulas, too. When finished, the platters, and any wooden food-serving utensils will be covered with a non-toxic wood preservative.
That’s three of the six programs at the school — music, hospitality and wood shop — the other three are fine arts, business and media arts. Fine arts students design and paint the backdrop for the music café; this one is an outdoor scene looking inside to a black and white checkerboard floor with flower boxes underneath the windows. Business students make sure the days are advertised and posters are ready and posted; and media arts students are responsible for designing the posters.
Blake Seward, history teacher and no.1 fan of the musical lunches, describes the big picture, how all the departments work together to make the days happen. There are expectations from each department, 26 overall. When all these expectations are met, and all goes according to plan, the day is a success.
The next Restless Red Hawk café is slated for early December at noon; drop in for a bite to eat, a look at what’s going on at the school, and some good music. Call the school before you go just to be sure the café is running that day. The number is 613-283-0288.
This article was first published in the December issue of Hometown News. For more articles from our December issue, pick up a print copy at a local retailer or read our digital version.