The Dollhouse may be the best kept secret amongst the
restaurants in the Rutland area. For over 25 years the students at
Stafford Technical School have been running this restaurant and
serving lunch to the general public. "We offer great food at
reasonable prices and our students gain great experiences by
operating our business," said Lisa Fennimore, one of the chef
instructors for the Stafford Culinary Program. "The restaurant
industry and local foods system in our city are growing and will
need trained employees to keep up the progress."
The program includes more than restaurant opperations. In the
past, students have catered major events like weddings, breakfasts,
and parties for local organizations. By utilizing a full scale
kitchen that rivals any professional operation, young chefs run a
bakeshop that serves the student population.
On the day that The Mountain Times visited Stafford Tech, the
whole building was filled with a tantalizing aroma and students
were cleaning up after a busy day. Chef Fennimore explained "today
we had the Student of the Marking Period luncheon." Every quarter,
each teacher picks one student from their program who has proven
themselves a hardworking leader and they get to come to lunch at
the Dollhouse with a guest of their choosing. "We served 44 people
today," Fennimore continued. "Lunch consisted of balsamic dressed
garden salad, chicken stuffed with prosciutto and boursin cheese
with sauce supreme, scalloped potatoes, haricot verts, garlic
rolls, and cappuccino brownie with raspberry ganache and whipped
Stafford students also learn about culinary science, measurement
arithmetic, cooking techniques, French terminology as part of their
"We get to plan the menu here, learn about inventory, checking
items in and we get sanitation training, Dining Room operations,
and more. I don't have one bad thing to say about the program here
at Stafford," said student Cassie Ciejko. "Yes, it is stressful at
times but it is totally worth it. What we learn here is going to
help us for the rest of our career. When you are doing what you
love, it is amazing. The chefs are amazing; they are very hands on
and great teachers. I am looking forward to going to Lincoln
Culinary Institute in Hartford, CT next year."
In addition to her work at Stafford, Cassie Ciejko is a line
cook at Three Tomatoes Restaurant in Rutland.
Photo courtesy of Stafford Tech
Cassie Ciejko completes a practical exam where she is graded on
the food she prepares.
The Dollhouse Restaurant is open to the public for lunch
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during the school year, barring
special events. It is recommend to call 770-1041 to make a
reservation. Seatings are at 11:30, 11:45, and 12-noon. The menu
features items like Apple Parsnip Soup with Coriander, Grilled
Shrimp Salad, White Eggplant Lasagna and Cinnamon Chocolate Mousse.
The culinary program at Stafford Technical Center benefits from the
support given by the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link, Alchemy
Gardens, Best of Vermont, RMG Stone, Three Tomatoes, Little Harry's
and South Station.