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French Kitchen announces storefront, PPCC announces local cafeteria partner

Side Dish



French at Flintridge

For about 41/2 years, Blandine Brutel has been teaching French cooking out of her Rockrimmon home under the business name The French Kitchen. But come March, The French Kitchen will have its own storefront. Brutel has netted the former High Country Quilts store at 4771 N. Academy Blvd. at Flintridge Drive, and remodeling is due to begin in December. In addition to a teaching kitchen, the 4,500-square-foot facility will also host a bakery and café, plus a small boutique for French import goods.

"I'll always have in the boutique things that you would not normally find in the U.S., or things that would be harder to find," she says. She plans to include a few pieces of specialized kitchen equipment, as well as supplies like imported vanilla and French sandwich bread. Brutel will also import high-quality café syrups by French-based company Monin.

"Usually you find them in bars or coffee shops, but I've made them available to buy," she says. "We use that in the class to make Italian sodas." Brutel will be teaching classes on how to make anything she'll serve in the café.

"Here, you eat a quiche for your breakfast, and you say 'I really like that. I would like to know how to make that,'" she says. "You can go to the cooking class kitchen and take the quiche class."

Cafeteria, sans corporate

Back in July, we reported that Pikes Peak Community College had parted ways with food-service giant Sodexo, opting instead to work with local food trucks to feed students over the summer.

"We were working on moving away from the corporate food model," says Warren Epstein, executive director of marketing and communications at PPCC. But the food trucks were only ever a transitional thing. Students and faculty have no doubt noticed that the cafeterias are open and operating again, care of Denver-based Paragon Dining Services. They started feeding PPCC students in late September, starting with cold sandwiches and adding hot entrees within the week. Epstein says the service will give students access to healthier dining choices and a wider variety of options than they had previously.

"We never planned on getting rid of our cafeterias ... although we certainly closed down a lot of the food services over the summer as we always do," Epstein clarifies. He notes that construction on PPCC's Centennial campus has also made it difficult to place the food trucks.

"It's a tough location," says PPCC spokesperson Karen Kovaly. "We have different cost loads on different days. The food trucks may have thought they weren't getting enough business."

"We still have food trucks for now ... and then it's optional after that," says Epstein, noting that the arrangement was fully at-will. "Being an employee here, I loved [it], because the food trucks were fantastic." He notes that food truck service to PPCC's campuses will likely return come spring.

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