Dolores students gain skills in restaurant business

Dolores third-graders served up Mexican, Italian and Indian food during a restaurant project held at the Dolores River Campground on Oct. 11-12.

At the campground’s lodge, students bustled about taking orders, cooking and serving up food they prepared to parents and campground guests.

“It’s a really exciting day,” said student Natalia Dodgen. “We’re working together to serve everybody and keep track of all the orders.”

Third-grade teacher Casey Russell said the exercise teaches the economics of the restaurant business, as well as the skills needed to work in food service. Students learned about food preparation and safety, created a budget and recorded income and expenses.

“They’re learning how to deal with organized chaos, how to work together, and how to speak to customers,” Russell said.

Each class opened a different restaurant, including The Bears of Indiasia Palace, Little Mexican Oso Café and Little Bears Cocina.

The exercise is in cooperation with the Montezuma School to Farm Project, which manages student-run gardens for instruction and school meals. Proceeds help support the School to Farm program. Last year, the event raised $1,000.

“We served up zuppa soup, Italian salad, French bread and biscotti for dessert,” said student Ryelee Zahorka. “It’s been very busy and fun. We learned you can make a lot of money.”

“We had to move fast when all the orders came in so the customers did not get cold soup,” added cook Judah Marty.

This is the third year the Dolores Campground has hosted the event, said owner Laney Beyhan.

“Our guests get a real kick out of it and look forward to it every year,” she said. “The meals were very well done.”