Image: Mott CC Culinary Arts Institute

Sweet treats and savory dishes are being served in the heart of downtown Flint.

Mott Community College held the grand opening of its new culinary institute, giving hundreds of students a chance to master their craft while feeding the community.

“Having all this is like a playground,” said Tony Jarema, culinary arts student.

There aren’t many cooks that get to work in their dream kitchen before they graduate, but Jarema does.

Jarema is a student at the Mott Community College Culinary Arts Institute, which officially opened its doors on June 7.

“I think for this area, it’s tremendous. There’s not really a lot here as far as specific culinary arts program,” Jarema said.

The newly renovated 36,000 square foot building is in downtown Flint, off Saginaw Street.

Chef Matthew Cooper is the coordinator for food service management at the school. He said the new location couldn’t be any better.

“We will have more foot traffic, a greater volume of food service. Students will get to prepare more food, pastries, things like that,” Cooper said.

It’s not just state of the art kitchens and classrooms, it is open to the public as well.

Cooper said they will soon open a student-run, upscale restaurant located on the first floor.

“Students get to work in real time action that’s our applewood on second on Saginaw. And we also have a quick service restaurant called Coffee Beanery,” Cooper said.

Here on the second floor, they have a meat fabrication classroom and an advanced bakery. Students can also learn about wine pairing and the art of creating charcuterie boards.

“We have been waiting for this,” Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said.

Weaver was one of the hundreds of people to get a first-hand look. She even met celebrity chef Carla Hall.

Weaver said the institute is just what downtown needed.

“Economic impact this has in our community. It’s a great thing it helps us move forward,” Weaver said.

As for Jarema, one day he would like to open his own restaurant, but until then, he said he will enjoy perfecting his craft.

“The great opportunity, the restaurant business is always growing, people always go out to eat,” Jarema said.  

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