Samantha Fuller, a student in SFA's quantity food production and service class, serves guests at a recent Cajun-themed quantity food production and service dinner at SFA.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Nacogdoches community, along with the students, faculty and staff of Stephen F. Austin State University, now has the opportunity to enjoy a fine dining experience on campus.

The quantity food production and service class has revamped its program and opened a new restaurant location next to the Human Sciences Building in the Human Sciences Annex.

The class offers hospitality, nutrition, and family and consumer science students the chance to work hands on with food production and service. Students learn recipe conversion, menu planning, food cost determinations, recipe standardization, safety and sanitation practices, and efficient food service through the experience of running their own restaurant.

"Instead of having an idea of how a restaurant is supposed to be run, these students actually get to do it," said instructor Vanessa Hooper, a registered dietitian who is teaching the course.

In the past, dining took place on the second floor of the Human Sciences Building. The new location offers a larger dining area that can accommodate up to 50 guests and a larger kitchen with commercial cooking equipment for food preparation.

"We are one of the top four programs in the State of Texas," said Dr. Lynda Martin, director of the School of Human Sciences. "It is really important that these labs are giving the students a really quality experience. That's why we're really excited about branding and turning this into a full-scale restaurant."

This semester, the food service and production class will be working with Dr. Marlene Kahla's marketing of services class to assist with branding and naming the restaurant.

"While we aren't a culinary program per se, we just signed an articulation agreement with Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Austin," said Dr. Chay Runnels, assistant professor and program coordinator. "The agreement will allow our students to transfer credit into their culinary program after they get their bachelor's degree here at SFA."

Dinners are now being served on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tickets may be purchased with cash or check only by contacting the School of Human Sciences at (936) 468-1022. Tickets will be e-mailed to customers once payment is received. Cost is $8 per meal or $80 for all 12 meals. Dates, times and menus will be posted on SFA Weekly, SFA Today, the Human Sciences Facebook page and the School of Human Sciences Communication Board.