Hospitality Academy nestled in the foothills
Now the building — which formerly housed the Stonehouse Restaurant — has reopened as the Stonehouse Hospitality Academy.
The academy is a case study in forging a public-private partnership to create new jobs, in this case for hands on training in the hospitality industry.
“We provide a work environment where youth can prepare and serve food, book events and manage them,” says Bill Finley, executive director of the Oroville-based Private Industry Council, in charge of the program. The group has worked closely with county officials on the novel plan.
The Stonehouse Hospitality Academy has been booking weddings, conferences, board meetings, anniversary, birthday parties and retirement dinners.
Expansion plans are in the works to provide catering for the Miners Foundry in Nevada City, a one-of-a-kind venue made of native timber and stone. The Center for The Arts in Grass Valley, which hosts big-name talent, also is interested.
The idea is to compliment, not compete with, local restaurant and catering businesses, providing them with well trained workers. The youth typically are 18 to 24 years old.
“Our philosophy is that it’s better to teach in a work setting rather than a classroom,” Finley says. Training is provided for cooks, host and hostess, sous chef, waiters, caterers and event planners.
In Oroville, which has fewer fine dining resturants than western Nevada County, the council helped open a restaurant called Checkers with trained workers.
It has evolved from a youth training program to a fully functioning lunch and dinner destination with area youth running the show (under careful supervision from an experienced chef).
The dining room features white linens and a seasonal menu prepared with fresh, local ingredients. “The best thing we can teach is customer service — it’s a dying art,” says Finley.
107 Sacramento St., Nevada City
Public Art Display
Nevada County has found a way to promote local artwork in its buildings. The county’s social services department recently expanded its lobby to meet increased demand for public services.
At the same time, it invited local artists to display their work. Grass Valley artist Chris Duccini’s paintings now are on display.
“His bold colors and large canvas pieces have invoked daily comments, especially from children,” says Alison Lehman, director of the county’s social services department. To see Chris’ work, go to DucciniArt.com.