Culinary school fundraiser resumes in-person model

Mar. 23—TRAVERSE CITY — After three years of takeout only, the Great Lakes Culinary Institute is returning to its in-person format for its annual fundraiser, A Taste of Success.

The April 26 event will take place at the Northwestern Michigan College Great Lakes Campus.

Culinary institute director Les Eckert said they are happy to be back to the live event. Students will serve international dishes for attendees, rather than assemble boxes for them to take home.

"It's a walking, tasting event," Eckert said. "A Taste of Success incorporates all of the students — every class."

Culinary instructor Jim Morse said this year's stations will feature food from Italy, Greece, Southeast Asia, North Africa/Morocco, France, Mexico and Cajun Creole. Students and their instructors selected their country and designed the menus.

"Our students really look forward to that experience," Morse said. "Students get to showcase their skills and learning."

His restaurant class is presenting "A Taste of Lobdell's," which will feature items on their menu this semester. Also, the garde manger class is serving charcuterie items and the baking students are making the desserts.

"We also have a raw bar," Morse said. "This is a nod to our culinary maritime certificate. We thought a tie in to our maritime program would be fun."

He added that they are partnering with local wineries and breweries for the alcoholic beverage, and they will offer mocktails and non-alcoholic drinks like kombucha in Lobdell's.

Last year, the to-go event collected more than $145,000 for student scholarships and the culinary institute program. Eckert said funds go to several areas, including knife kits for incoming students, a study abroad award and career tech high school student scholarships.

"This fundraiser allows us to have this large bank so we can give back to students in multiple ways," Eckert said.

Eckert added that if people are unable to attend and would still like to support the fundraiser, they can donate online.

Both Eckert and Morse encouraged people to attend the event and said the venue is accessible amid the nearby roadwork.

Tickets for A Taste of Success are $150 per person. Sponsorship is also available. To purchase, call 231-995-1021 or visit