Southern Illinoisans are invited to have a taste of a "Modern Melting Pot" at this year's Rend Lake College Culinary Arts Showcase.

The showcase will open Thursday, March 23, and will run through Friday, April 28 on the Ina campus.

The Culinary Arts Showcase is an event that resembles a fine dining restaurant run by RLC Culinary Arts students enrolled in the Restaurant Management course. Janet Pearce, course instructor, said the students chose the “Modern Melting Pot” theme to reflect the diversity in everyday food from around the world.

“My students chose the theme to show how we have influences from many different countries in the food we eat today,” Pearce said.

Using the bi-level kitchen and dining area, located in the Student Center, students work in a variety of roles, ranging from executive chef, sous chef, server, runner, maitre d’ to get hands-on experience in all aspects of the restaurant business.

Guests will have a choice of:

Appetizers

• Puff Pastry Samosas: Delicate puff pastry stuffed with a mixture of green curry vegetables.

• Brie and Smoked Lox Torte: House-made smoked salmon on melted Brie, served with crackers.

• Stuffed Mushrooms: Portobello mushrooms stuffed with crab, Gouda and breadcrumbs.

Soup or Salad

• Minestrone Soup: Hearty beef and vegetable soup with pasta and legumes.

• Soup du Jour: See the server for the soup of the day.

• Spinach, Blueberry and Broccoli Salad: Sweet and savory with a yogurt and buttermilk dressing.

• Vermont Country Salad: Mixed greens, bacon, croutons and cheddar with a Vermont maple dressing.

Entrees

• Hangar Steak: Tender beef marinated and grilled to medium, served with wilted spinach and roasted red potatoes.

• Stuffed Pork Tenderloin: Pork tenderloin stuffed with a bread and raisin stuffing and butternut squash.

• Blackberry BBQ Cornish Hen: Grilled hen with blackberry BBQ sauce, served with onion rings and wilted spinach.

• Sweet Potato Crusted Snapper: Pan-seared snapper, crusted with sweet potatoes, served with roasted asparagus and wild rice.

• Capellini Puttanesca: Fresh tomatoes, olives and Italian seasonings, served over angel hair pasta and garlic bread.

• Chicken and Andouille Gumbo: Hearty Cajun stew, served over rice with a corn cobbett and corn muffin.

The Culinary Arts Showcase will be open from 5 to 6:30 p.m., with reservations every half hour, on Thursdays and Fridays between March 23 and April 28, with the exception of Good Friday, April 14. Tickets cost $25 and can be reserved any time. For more information, or to make a reservation, contact the RLC Community and Corporate Education Division at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1714.

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