A sensory buffet of food and wine appealing to epicurean tastes sets the stage for a hands-on learning environment for more than 80 Hospitality, Tourism and Events (HTE) students when Metro State hosts this year’s 7th Annual Denver Food and Wine (DFW) Sept. 9-10.
The event includes “Art of the Cocktail” on Friday from 7:30 – 11 p.m. On Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. is the “Grand Tasting.” This culinary showcase, which features more than 600 wines, signature spirits and cuisine from more than 40 of Denver’s finest restaurants, has been hosted on Metro State’s campus since 2008 at 7th and Lawrence Way. Special pricing is available for Metro State alumni.
“The square footage for the event venue has almost doubled this year compared to last, providing more opportunity for students to interact with vendors and event participants,” says Cynthia Onken Glimm, Metro State affiliate faculty wine instructor and Metro State DFW coordinator.
The DFW event, which is the second largest festival of its kind in Colorado (behind Aspen Food and Wine) and the largest wine festival in the country held on a college campus, is good practice for HTE students, who will soon benefit from the College’s $45-million Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center (HLC) opening fall 2012.
The HTE department, which expects to double its current enrollment of nearly 600 students in the next decade after the opening of the HLC, has hosted the Denver Food and Wine since its move from City Lights at the Pepsi Center to the Metro State campus. The Colorado Restaurant Association Education Foundation produces the DFW with its presenting sponsor US Foodservice.
Although students are not required to work the DFW, by volunteering they receive extra credit. More importantly they gain valuable event management experience that goes beyond classroom theory, according to John Dienhart, chair of the HTE department. Students are volunteering in a variety of tasks including chef support, event planning, product presentation, set up and event logistics.
“During the past three years, we have discovered that student volunteers who show initiative gain critical experience that goes well beyond the task they were asked to support,” says Dienhart. “This event is a natural fit for our students since we offer a beverage minor degree, beverage management certificate and International Sommelier Guild certification.”
Proceeds from the event benefit Metro State HTE student scholarships, as well as the Colorado Restaurant Association Education Foundation and The Denver Post Community Foundation. This year’s event will also feature a silent wine and hospitality auction with more than $5,000 worth of merchandise. Auction items range from a time-share condo and cooking classes to dinner certificates and vintage wines, according Onken Glimm.
Greening the EventFor more information about the event visit http://www.mscd.edu/~hmt/.
An event as large as this also has a “green” element, where students from food preparation and sanitation classes will monitor the event’s sustainability and vendor recycling habits, and contribute to the goal of reducing landfill waste by 20 percent, says Dienhart.
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