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Tempting new menu as Desert Lantern opens doors

By Patrick Nelson

Kitchen operations students Johanna Ezard, Anina Conradie and Suzi Nitschke prepare scallop prosciutto “lollipops” for the degustation menu Kitchen operations students Johanna Ezard, Anina Conradie and Suzi Nitschke prepare scallop prosciutto “lollipops” for the degustation menu

Charles Darwin University’s fine dining training restaurant in Alice Springs is in full swing after recently opening its doors to the public for the first time this year.

Hospitality lecturer Nick de Silva said the restaurant would operate mainly on Wednesday and Thursday evenings (and occasionally on a Tuesday) to provide hospitality students with their first taste of a “real deal” restaurant.

“We serve a fabulous three-course dinner featuring a new menu of entrees, mains and desserts,” Mr de Silva said.

“We change the menu on a weekly basis, but for the main course [on opening night], clients had the choice of a pork cutlet dish, a beef rib dish or pan seared barramundi.”

The hospitality course has once again proven popular with vocational education and training students from the three urban secondary schools.

“About 100 students have enrolled in the hospitality and bar tending courses and a further 20 in kitchen operations, where they will help with food preparation for the restaurant.”

Mr de Silva said the training restaurant could accommodate a maximum of 80 patrons on each of the 18 select operating evenings during semester one.

“We are looking forward to the restaurant season with a lot of confidence and particularly following the success of two degustation dinner nights hosted for industry guests.

“Our kitchen maestros Mark Bizley and Hayley Tobin prepared seven sumptuous courses with the support of several kitchen operations students.

“There was a lot of positive feedback.”

Mr de Silva said the Desert Lantern provided hospitality students with an ideal environment to develop practical skills, valuable knowledge and confidence.

“Graduates will receive a qualification that will give them a head-start in finding a job.”

Mr de Silva said the public could make bookings by phoning 8959 5200. The 2015 restaurant calendar and details: W. http://www.cdu.edu.au/sites/default/files/cdu-vet/docs/desert-lantern-restaurant-brochure.pdf