Press "Enter" to skip to content

Cuisine Chronicles at Central  

Do you know about the epicenter of culinary delight on our campus? Every dish tells a story and every bite is an adventure. 

In this edition of “Cuisine Chronicles,” we invite you to savor the essence of our exceptional dining establishments: “The Buzz,” “Square One,” and “One World Bistro,” where comfort food meets culinary innovation. What makes these destinations truly exceptional is their deep-rooted collaboration with our esteemed culinary department, a partnership that infuses creativity, expertise, and passion into every dish. 

So, let’s hear from the team working tirelessly to make the student dining experience special.

Kyle – Manager at The Buzz 

Kyle, the dedicated Manager at The Buzz, a unique café nestled within a college environment. With a passion for fostering a genuine and enriching experience for both customers and students alike, Kyle’s leadership embodies a commitment to community and education. In conversation, Kyle’s enthusiasm shines through in his insights into the ever-evolving menu, highlighting the creativity and innovation that define The Buzz’s culinary offerings. The staff’s interest in customer satisfaction goes beyond mere transactions, fostering an atmosphere where genuine connections can be forged over a cup of coffee and a freshly baked treat.

Can you tell us a little bit about Buzz and how it’s different from cafes?

All the coffee that we sell is produced and roasted by Cafe Vita, it’s all done locally. Because of our partnership with them, our pastry students, when they do their barista course, actually get a chance to go to Cafe Vita and get hands-on, brief experience with some really talented people.

The other thing that separates us is all the food is produced by students in-house, upstairs as part of their learning experience. There might be some changes in the future but currently, we don’t sell anything that is not made by a student here.

What do you think is an advantage of operating in a cafe that is in a college environment?

One of the main advantages is we’re not so pressed to turn a profit, which makes  the whole experience for everyone involved much better. It’s not “let’s upsell you,” it’s, let’s make your day better,” and “how was your day” with genuine interest in customers.

Can you give us a bread you would recommend to students?

I really look forward to the potato and onion bread every time they bring it down. I end up walking home with like two loaves, one for the freezer and one to eat.

Are there any recent additions or changes to the menu?

The menu is always changing. So it’s never the same, day to day, week to week. A lot of the cookies stay the same, sometimes the breads, but our pasta salads are always changing and the chefs are always sending down some fun new savory stuff.

Is there any particular memorable event that you would like to share?

Every quarter the pastry chefs or the pastry students do a big project where they show off all the skills that they’ve learned and a lot of those products get to come down here for students to buy and enjoy. Also, we can go upstairs and see what they’re doing. It’s this chance to see what four quarters of pastry knowledge has built up, too. Getting to see that every quarter is my favorite thing. End of the quarter means saying bye to a few of our regular students, but it also gives us the opportunity to see unique new desserts and get excited for a whole new batch of students to come.

Linnet Blumenthal – Instructor of the culinary department

Linnet Blumenthal sheds light on the transformative journey of students within the restaurants’ walls. She’s a guiding force and a beacon of inspiration at Square One, the Bistro with a wealth of experience and a passion for culinary education. As an instructor, Linnet brings a unique blend of expertise, creativity, and mentorship to the kitchen. Her dedication to culinary excellence is evident in every aspect of Square One’s operations, from menu planning to ingredient sourcing. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to sustainability, She instills in her students the importance of craftsmanship, seasonality, and responsible sourcing, ensuring that every dish that leaves the kitchen is a reflection of their dedication to the craft.

Vrindha | The Seattle Collegian

Can you tell me if there are any experiences in this café related to your students that you would like to highlight?

They’re culinary students, and they all have to do front-of-house rotations, which means that they have to do anything that involves counter-service experience or serving. In one world, they’ll be servers, or they’ll be server assistants, or they’ll be managers—and it is often not what they are. They don’t come to culinary school to work to do the front-of-house type stuff, so it’s often a very new and different experience for them. One of the things about being in front-of-house is that it’s not because we think that’s going to be their career path, but it will help inform them as culinary students and can help them have a better understanding of the way that restaurants work. I think that what can be surprising for some of them is that they like it or it’s not as bad as they thought it was going to be, or it just helps them have a better appreciation for a part of a restaurant that they don’t generally have experience.

Looking ahead, do you have any goals for this restaurant?

I would love more of our student population to be coming here. I think they don’t always know it exists because every quarter there are new students, and there’s not a lot of marketing and advertising and such, so I don’t know how they would hear about it. I think my goal would just be more people realizing that it’s here, and understanding that it’s a part of an education curriculum for our students. Every time someone comes here, it’s giving an opportunity for our students to get to practice what they’re learning. 

I really feel like it’s great food, and It’s priced based on students and their budgets. This is a school—out in the world, this would be much more expensive. My goal is just for more people to understand that and give it a try. They can also order online and pick up, we don’t do delivery, but they can pick up. 

Are there any behind-the-scenes insights you would like to tell us?

When people come here, they’ll start learning and would have had no cooking experience whatsoever. Then they’re cooking this amazing food that’s really complicated. It’s ingredients, sometimes they’ve never seen, or  new ways of using ingredients as everything is made from scratch. They make the pasta, they make the bread—it’s all in home. I just think that that’s what’s crazy and fun, just how surprising it is—even for us and students. 

How do you handle food waste and sustainability?

We have programs at the end of every quarter where all food that hasn’t been used yet goes to food banks and shelters. During the quarter, all the scraps from vegetables or even bones from the meat get utilized in the program itself and sometimes students get to take some of the ingredients home if they want.

Are there any success stories of students who worked here in the past that you would like to highlight?

We have so many students who go on to have fantastic careers, open restaurants, small businesses. I wish I knew all their names. We have some bakery students from pastry students who have this fantastic cake business, Lady Grey Seattle. They make these beautiful cakes out of the pastry project we have. Some of our students are now chefs who own restaurants around towns, some go out of the country and work. Our program is highly thought of, at the end of it the students are ready to begin fantastic culinary careers.

Square one – Lane Morrison and Jordan Houchin (Managers and 4th quarter students)

Square One, the Bistro, stands as a culinary gem within the realm of student-operated restaurants. Lane Morrison and Jordan Houchin, a dynamic duo at Square One, the Bistro seamlessly blend their roles as managers with their journey as fourth-quarter students. With a passion for culinary excellence and a drive to lead by example, Lane and Jordan epitomize the dedication and innovation that define this student-operated restaurant. As managers, Lane and Jordan oversee the day-to-day operations of Square One, ensuring smooth service and exceptional guest experiences. Their leadership extends beyond mere management tasks; they serve as mentors, guiding their peers through the intricacies of restaurant service and instilling a culture of collaboration and excellence.

Vrindha | The Seattle Collegian

Can you tell me about this restaurant?

Jordan Houchin: This is the third-quarter restaurant, Square One, the Bistro. Chef Craig is the head chef here, and the third-quarter students cook in a rotation. The menu usually rotates every two or three weeks. He does an Indian menu, a Southern menu, and a French menu. Sometimes if we have certain ingredients that we need to use up, Chef Craig will do a special, so there will be a one-day special or some dish that’s not typically on the menu, but it really depends on what we have in the kitchen.

What is your most popular dish?

Lane Morrison: I would have to say anything from the fryer usually is pretty popular. We have fish and chips, and we usually do that different every week. Sometimes it’s with cod, sometimes it’s with halibut. It depends on seasonality, the hot Nashville chicken sandwich is also a really popular one, which we often get positive feedback on both online through surveys and from our fellow student staff.

What do you think sets your restaurant apart from other dining establishment?

Jordan Houchin, In short, the unique menu. Usually every two weeks the menu is going to change. It depends on how long the quarter is to see those menu changes. We also happen to have a big appreciation for Indian dishes, and especially Southern US dishes. Also the sustainability of ingredients. We’re not really taking anything from other parts of the country and shipping it here. We’re getting all our stuff local and trying to use Northwestern ingredients to touch different flavors around the world. 

Do you think there’s any dish that’s unique to this joint your creation, completely?

Lane Morrison: I’d say our pizza is made from scratch every day.  Every day, there’s fresh dough being made. Its toppings depend on what type of menu it is. So it could be a French-style pizza, or we have paneer pizza as well. And every day, it’s unique. 

What do you think the peak hours are? 

Jordan Houchin: Probably right around 12 o’clock is the time to come. Lunchtime is THE time. When it comes to handling the rush we just work with what we have. It’s just based on the students that are assigned to this rotation. Sometimes we have a fifth-quarter student help out if somebody is absent, but otherwise, we just have to make it work with who’s here.

Caleb Hobbs and Azunne (5th quarter student chefs)

Nestled within the heart of culinary innovation, One World emerges as a beacon of fine dining excellence, where gastronomic mastery meets affordability. Caleb Hobbs and Azunne, the talented fifth-quarter student chefs at One World, whose passion for culinary excellence and dedication to their craft shine brightly. For them, the kitchen is more than just a workspace; it’s a canvas where they express their culinary artistry and hone their skills under the mentorship of Chef Kären. The two hold promising careers and give us an insight into the student chefs’ perspective at Central.

Vrindha | The Seattle Collegian

Can you tell me a little bit about this restaurant?

Caleb Hobbs: One World is the fourth-quarter kitchen and is considered a place for fine dining, but very inexpensive. It’s a fine dining restaurant where it shows the techniques of more of the fancier dishes that you would get and see in hotels and upper-tier restaurants. We serve the community, still giving the sense of fine dining, but at a very low cost, it’s affordable.

What is your most popular dish?

Caleb Hobbs: It varies from menu to menu and from the customers to the chefs. For the customers and the Pacific Northwest menu, that salmon with the potato scallops or the potato scales, that’s usually like a fan favorite. If you had a chance of dining in here, you’ve probably seen it here a lot. For the menu that we’re running right now it’s the pork belly that’s simply the chef’s kiss. For the Middle Eastern, we have a mezze plate that, people love. It’s usually considered an appetizer, but people order it as an entree as well. I would say each menu has one dish that really catches the eye of the people. 

Azunne: The dish that is popular with most student chefs is Chef Kären’s Moqueca Seafood moqueca, which is moqueca based from different parts of the world, a seafood moqueca, so it has anything in there from halibut to shrimp and it’s just so savory and great.

For the vegans and vegetarians out there, do y’all also support that?

Azunne: We do. We make that a priority here at One World. We make sure there are no allergies and we’ll make sure if you’re vegan or if you’re vegetarian that there is also an option on the menu for that. Each week there is  a different menu, or every two weeks there’s like a different menu, and we make sure there is at least one item on there that is vegetarian or vegan. Then, you have some meals that are created to where you can make it a vegetarian meal. For example, if it was a meat like a meat salad, you could take the meat out and make it a vegetarian. We accommodate everybody and want everybody to have the fine dining experience for a good cost.

 Is there any dish that’s unique to your establishment?

Caleb Hobbs: Because Chef Kären has been working on these menus, for about 20 years now, I would say there’s no dish that isn’t  special or that hasn’t been cultivated by her over the years and her inspiration. I can’t name one as all the dishes on the menu are so unique and extensively thought of.

What do you think sets your restaurant apart from other restaurants in this area?

Azunne: First and foremost, the instructor Chef Kären. She has put her soul, her heart and mind into these menus. She considers the sustainable aspect of it, how it affects the environment, if it’s locally sourced, sustainably sourced, is it seasonal, does it fit our meal, our beliefs, our character and our integrity. It’s not just “does this taste good or look good,” it’s a lot lot more. 

She comes up with the menu and she’s rotating these every quarter. But at the end of the day, there are students that have to make it. So we get only two days, sometimes a week at most to perfect the station that we’re on before we go on to the next station. The fact that we’re able to come together as a commodity. Push out consecutive good-quality dishes. You know, over the span of just a week. I think it makes it different because, everybody that’s in the kitchen right now has only made this dish once and has gotten consecutive feedback about how good it is, the consistency, the quality. The kitchen is where everybody gets a chance to try it and our students are so well trained that it always comes out successful.


Having heard from managers, teachers and chefs we realize that – The culinary landscape at Central is not just about food; it’s about experiences, stories, and passion. From The Buzz, to Square One, to One World Bistro, each establishment offers a unique journey. Behind every dish is a collaboration between students, instructors, and local partners, shaping not only palates—but also futures. What sets these kitchens apart is not just their exceptional dishes, but also the ethos of collaboration and learning that permeates every corner. Behind the scenes, students labor tirelessly, honing their skills under the guidance of dedicated instructors like Linnet Blumenthal and Chef Kären, whose expertise and commitment shape not only the meals but also the future careers of aspiring chefs. The commitment to sustainability, diversity, and excellence resonates in every menu, reflecting the values of the community and the dedication of those who craft each meal. Let’s celebrate the culinary tapestry that enriches our campus life.


Vrindha, an international student from India, is fueled by her fervent love for diverse art forms such as dance, drama, music and theatre. Eager to immerse herself in new experiences and broaden her horizons, she sees her involvement with the Collegian as a gateway to both sharing her passions and delving into new realms of knowledge.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2018 - 2023 The Seattle Collegian