Tappan Green encourages students to tap-in to their leadership skills. Zach Ellinor, The Cypress. Staff Writer • April 10, 2024

Whether a frequent patron, a one-time visitor, or merely a passerby catching a delicious scent of cookies in the halls, most students have heard about the Tappan Green Restaurant. But do they know how the restaurant really operates?

The student-run restaurant opened under its new name in the fall of 2021 in a custom-built facility located on the first floor of the STEM commons. It is staffed by students taking Restaurant and Culinary classes, which are categorized as a Career and Technology Education Elective. The class is under the supervision of three chefs, who function as the teachers of the class, while also working alongside the students.

In Restaurant and Culinary, students alternate between various stations. Stations such as bakery, prep, salad and barista allow students to gain valuable experience in a wide variety of the tasks involved in running a restaurant.

Restaurant and Culinary Careers teacher Divonne McCoy, one of the restaurant’s three chiefs, said students gain worthwhile experiences in the restaurant.

“After this class we’ve had students that went on and got a job because they have experience working on a register or in the bakery or making wraps or sandwiches,” McCoy said.

Career and Technology Education Curriculum Coordinator Britt Stevens said the value of the real world experience students gain from Tappan Green is helpful for many students.

“The Restaurant is one of our only remaining truly vocational programs in that it’s entirely work-based learning. So students are getting Career and Technology Education credit to be operationally running the restaurant. So it’s a very hands-on class,” Stevens said.

According to Stevens, the class allows students and teachers to interact in a work environment, rather than an academic one.

“The relationship is very different with the restaurant teachers because they really work side by side with students and rely on students to be able to execute the operation of the restaurant,” Stevens said.

Junior Selene Yo, a Restaurant and Culinary Careers II student who worked breakfast last year and now works lunch, details the unique relationship between the Chefs and restaurant students.

“They are your boss, you’re doing tasks given to you and you’re working with them, as well as them telling you what to do,” Yo said.

The restaurant functions as an independent business. Financially, it is self-sustaining, meaning that profits offset the cost of operations, according to Stevens. Additional profit is kept in the restaurant’s revolving budget to be saved for future expenses.

The restaurant also has a catering team that second and third year restaurant students can apply to and join. This paid job takes place after school where a small group of students caters local events, according to Stevens.

In addition to giving students culinary opportunities for their figure, the restaurant gives its students important lessons in leadership, according to McCoy.

“They come in and learn work ethic and how to manage, and if you’re here for more than one year we give you more responsibility for a leadership role,” McCoy said.

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