People can taste how where their money went by having lunch or baked goods at Long Beach City College’s bistro and bakery.

“We’re happy to show the community how their investment went,” LBCC president Eloy Ortiz Oakley said of the culinary arts facility in Building V.

The facility, a $44 million investment, came from Measure E bonds, approved in 2002 and 2008. The bonds were for construction and modernization at LBCC’s Pacific Coast and Liberal Arts campuses. The college is in its 11th year of the $616 million modernization.

Building V had a soft opening of the kitchen, classrooms and dining area last August, with classes, bakery and bistro in use during September. The bakery and bistro are open only during fall and spring semesters.

So far, the 50-seat bistro has catered to faculty and staff, Oakley said.

“It’s been going great,” Oakley said. “It’s hard to get a reservation there... What’s really great about it is seeing the students in action.”

The bistro offers guests lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. For about $15, diners get a three-course meal from a revolving fixed menu, including choice of appetizer or salad, entrée and dessert, with tax included. The menu changes biweekly, with a vegetarian option available.

Regional foods are highlighted every week, such as Mediterranean, Asian, West Coast, Southern, Latin America or French. Entrees have included chicken provençal, paella, roasted pork belly bao buns, mango salad, vegetable curry stew and vegetarian tagine.

A student-operated bakery counter offers artisan breads and pastries from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays.

Among the baked offerings are tarts, croissants, brioches, cookies, French baguettes, empanadas, quiches, paninis, coffee and other items. Each savory item will have a vegetarian option. Items, such as ham and cheese croissants, coconut macaroons and pain au chocolats (chocolate croissants) are among the regular options. The bakery is take-out only, with seating available in a nearby patio.

The culinary arts’ 73,650 square feet space has seven instructional kitchens, including facilities for a restaurant, production, skills, baking, pastry, multi-use and demonstration. Students receive hands-on experience while working in the bistro and bakery. Upon completion, they are ready for culinary arts jobs, such as chef, line cook, sous chef, caterer, restaurant operation manager, pastry cook and baker.

For bistro reservations, call (562) 938-4757 or email bistro@lbcc.edu. For more about the program, visit www.lbcc.edu.

Emily Thornton can be reached at ethornton@gazettes.com.

Emily is a staff writer covering higher education and other various topics for Gazette Newspapers. She has a background in weekly and daily newspapers and a bachelor’s in communication from La Sierra University.

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