The Mountain Times

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Dining review: The Dollhouse

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 cream."

Stafford students also learn about culinary science, measurement arithmetic, cooking techniques, French terminology as part of their academic studies.

"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.

5-dining -review --Cassie -Ciejko -is -completing -a -practical -exam -where -a -student -is -graded -on -the -food -they -cook .-(Photo -courtesy -of -Stafford -Tech )-

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.