Auburn University’s 1856 restaurant, located at the Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center, offers a unique dining experience that combines gourmet pleasure with valuable educational lessons for the university’s culinary and hospitality program students. The restaurant, named after the year Auburn University was founded, operates as a culinary residence and provides hands-on experience for the students to learn the intricacies of running a restaurant.
Under the guidance of a chef in residence, who changes annually, the students prepare and serve dishes that highlight their culinary skills and creativity. One example is the pan-roasted grouper dish featured on the current seven-course tasting menu. This dish showcases the students’ ability to perfectly cook the grouper while incorporating fresh-cut herbs from the center’s rooftop garden and locally sourced ingredients such as Alabama heirloom tomatoes. The students focus on mastering specific skills through the tasting menu concept, allowing them to excel in a particular course rather than juggling multiple options.
The Rane Center, which opened in 2022, goes beyond just a restaurant. It integrates classrooms, laboratories, a coffee roaster and café, a boutique hotel, bars, a rooftop garden, and other real-world hospitality services. The center aims to provide a comprehensive learning experience for the students, preparing them for various aspects of the culinary and hospitality industry.
Chef-in-Residence Ford Fry, who currently leads the program, emphasizes simplicity and seasonality in both the restaurant and educational programs. He believes in focusing on a few high-quality ingredients and executing them perfectly rather than overwhelming the plate with numerous elements. Fry also encourages the students to appreciate the importance of flavor over aesthetics, cautioning against using out-of-season ingredients that lack taste.
In addition to utilizing herbs and vegetables from the rooftop garden, Fry plans to expand the restaurant’s relationships with local small farmers and Gulf Coast seafood farmers and fishers. By prioritizing prime ingredients, he aims to instill in the students an understanding of how quality ingredients enhance the overall dining experience.
The 1856 restaurant, with its blend of dining and learning, serves as a valuable asset for the culinary industry in Alabama and neighboring states. Auburn University’s commitment to developing a strong culinary and hospitality program is expected to attract more students to pursue careers in the culinary arts.
– Culinary residence: A restaurant that operates within a culinary institution or campus, providing students with real-world experience in the culinary field.
– Gourmet: Relating to or characteristic of high-quality or exotic food and drink.
– Chef-in-residence: A chef who works temporarily at a specific establishment, contributing their expertise and overseeing the culinary operations.
– Concept: An abstract or general idea that represents a framework or fundamental basis for a particular course of action or thought.
– Seasonality: The characteristic of a certain ingredient, product, or dish being at its best or most flavorful during a specific season.
Source: The Source article provided.