Chef's Table brings diners, students together

NORTH BEND, Ore. -- It's been growing in size and skill for seven years, but now the Chef's Table is taking culinary learning and sharing to a whole new level.

The Chef's Table is an externship program at the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute.

Tara Pyor is an instructor at the institute, and says they have a program that benefits students and diners alike. "Chef's Table is a Friday lunch and dinner we offer here at the school," she said.

It's a meal where students run the dining room. "It has a lot of benefits for them," said Pyor. "Number one, they get to make their own menu, they get to do all of the ordering for the food. They get to do all the prep, all the actual cooking, the service and everything. They set up the dining room. It really gives them the restaurant experience they need."

Trisha Inman, a past student at the institute, says the program really helps people who are aspiring chefs. "Getting this hands-on experience gets you ready for them to shove you out into the real world, so you actually know what you're doing and can prove you know what you're doing," she said.

These students even have regulars that come out all the time. "We have guests that come every single week, and they've been coming for six years," Pyor said.

One of those diners is Leo Fernandez. He tells KCBY News that he always enjoys the student-prepared meals. "We come here every time we're in town," he said. "The food is always excellent. I haven't had a bad meal here. I'm three quarters of a century old and this is the best consistent food I've ever had."

Reservation information can be found at the Institute's Web site.