My JWU: Bringing a Pop-up Restaurant to Life

Jairo's class is like 4 back-to-back weeks ofTop Chef” Restaurant Wars — only he and his fellow JWU student teams compete for grades, rather than Tom and Padma’s approval.

And when it’s showtime in his Food Service Operations Management lab, Jairo's instructor, Brian Connors, helps make sure his students are ready.

“Every term there’s that ‘aha’ moment when students realize the class is all about leadership, creativity and innovation,” he says.

JWU Culinary student preparing in Chef Brian Connors' Food Service Operations Management class

Like Top Chef’s Restaurant Wars
By Jairo Gonzalez
Food Service Management major

The class was divided into 5 groups, and each group was responsible for executing their own restaurant concept. We had a lot of coffee-fueled planning sessions. It takes a lot of time to create a menu and work out all the details of service!

Our team came up with the idea of speed-dating the 5 senses. Our dining room was set up with 5 stations, each representing a specific sense. Guests cycled through the stations to get the full sensory experience.

JWU students tasting the finished products from the Food Service Operations Management classMy “Aha” Moment The day of the event, Chef Connors hands me a tall white chef hat to wear.

For the whole night I feel like an executive chef, running the kitchen, managing the line, watching the food leave the window and being the boss.

I was happy, overwhelmed, anxious, hungry and tired — and the event hadn’t even started yet!

Expect the Unexpected The biggest challenge? Even after days of practicing, ordering food and planning, nothing quite went according to plan. The hardest thing was to adapt. 

I would advise people to take this class head on, but have fun with it. Expect the unexpected and that nothing will ever go according to plan. What distinguishes you between a cook and a chef is how well you improvise!