Around the table: Community, classroom, and  restaurant all in one

By Kennedy Cash

NABJ JSHOP Reporter 

A culinary school on the Westside of Las Vegas is a training ground for chefs seeking to someday show their cooking skills in major restaurants on the Strip. (Photo Credit: LaDonna Colon)

There’s a restaurant in the Historic Westside of Las Vegas that doesn’t only serve food but also education. The Westside Bistro has a diverse group of people who are workers, chefs, and guests coming together to try different cultural foods.  

“They bring in different dishes from their culture that they learned from when there were like 10,” said Cassandra Robles, an assistant manager at the restaurant.

The bistro is part of the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas, located in a community that’s home to mostly Black and Brown residents. The academy was founded in 1993 and is a partnership between the culinary union, the bartenders’ union and the casino properties on the Las Vegas strip. It has trained more than 50,000 workers since it started.

“The training program can facilitate entry into the hospitality industry but it also can help workers move up in their careers,” said Bethany Kahn, a spokesperson for the Culinary Workers Union Local 226.

Diners having  lunch inside a popular bistro at the Culinary Academy on Las Vegas’ Westside. (Photo credit: Kennedy Cash)

Before working at the culinary school, Robles was a student there and she did many different jobs. Most students come to the school to learn how to work in the hospitality business. They learn the skills to work in restaurants, hotels and casinos. 

The bistro helps students refine their technical skills , improve their confidence and customer service. According to the Culinary Academy, they train youth, adults and displaced workers.

Some of the items they serve in the bistro include: dirty fries, chicken tenders, turkey melts, grilled flatbread and hot chicken sliders. The prices for entrees range from $6 to $8.  

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