Unveiling for GRCC's culinary amphitheater.
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- At Grand Rapids Community College students can already learn to cook like a chef at the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education.
And now the school has even more to offer cooking students after dedicating the new Pietro and Regina Culinary Amphitheater.
It's a specially designed classroom where students can watch and practice food preparation.
"I would dare say there is not another kitchen amphitheater that's better," says program director Dan Gendler. "There are some that are on par, but this is as good as it gets."
The Pietro and Regina Culinary Amphitheater is named after lead donor Peter Secchia's grandparents.
"They were really particular how they cooked and what you ate and how you ate it," Secchia told the crowd at Thursday's dedication ceremony. "If you students can cook as good as they could, we are going to hit a home run."
The new kitchen amphitheater seats 54 people with unobstructed views and multiple camera angles of the food preparation area at the front of the room.
"The students can see it done and then actually come down and start cooking side by side with the chef," says Gendler. "You get the best of both worlds."
The Pietro and Regina Culinary Amphitheater adds to an already comprehensive culinary program at GRCC with over 500 students enrolled. Many graduates are working in restaurants and kitchens around the country.
"We are inundated with e-mails from employers looking for our students," says pastry instructor Marcia Rango.
There may be opportunities for the public to attend presentations by celebrity chefs at the new amphitheater.
The culinary students also prepare lunch and dinner, Tuesday thru Friday, at The Heritage, their on-campus restaurant. We're including an online link to the restaurant's reservations page.