“Finally, it’s here,” states Matt Cooper, Chef and Instructor of Culinary Arts at Mott Community College. “It’s amazing and I can’t wait to get to work and show students everything it has to offer.” The new Mott Culinary Arts Institute is now open in Downtown Flint and everyone is excited. The state-of-the-art facility features everything a student will see in the world of culinary arts. The Institute has a test kitchen, a baking kitchen, an advanced pastry kitchen, a meat-cutting lab, a dry meat room, an oak-lined wine cellar and multiple instruction rooms. Each room is chock-full of the best technology available. “We have the best there is to offer,” adds Cooper. “We have cameras throughout the rooms that I can control during classes. I can zoom in on my hands to show a particular technique or to show what a student is working on. The blinds in the classroom windows will lower automatically when we want to show something on the monitor. The designers thought of everything.” It’s all extremely futuristic and perfect for teaching students everything they need to know and getting them experience working with all of the equipment that they will see when they graduate the program and settle into their careers.
On the building’s main floor is Applewood Café, a fine dining restaurant that will be student-run. “It’s perfect for them. They need to know how a real restaurant works and it’s the best way to teach them,” Cooper says. Applewood Café will open in the fall after students have a chance to get acquainted with the concept. It will feature a bar area, a kitchen where students showcase their skills in front of patrons, and both indoor and outdoor patio seating. “The Café’s location is exactly right,” comments Cooper. “It has a great view of Downtown Flint. People sitting on the patio get a great shot of the Capitol Theatre and passers-by can’t miss it. It will be a great place for upscale dining.” Recently opened for business, the Coffee Beanery is connected to the Café. Besides their usual fare, the Coffee Beanery will feature student-baked pastries and confections. “What our students bake in the pastry kitchen will find their way to the Beanery. The students will have a big hand in everything that we do here,” Cooper says with a smile.
Chef Cooper foresees a big jump in enrollment for the upcoming fall semester. “It’s already started,” he says. “We’ve had almost double the usual enrollment and after everyone sees how great the new Institute is, it might even triple. I’m glad it’s here and I’m happy with the way everything came out. The Culinary Arts faculty were able to have a say in its design and features. We got just about everything we asked for. I couldn’t be more excited!”
The Mott Culinary Arts Institute will bring fresh eyes to the revitalization of Flint as curious students and visitors come to the city. It’s another step forward for Flint and the best culinary arts institute in Michigan, a sentiment shared by Chef Cooper. “It’s got to be,” he says. “With everything we have here, it has to be the best in the state.”
Photography By Kayce McClure