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Alcona Students Tour The Fresh Palate & Red Brick Restaurant in Alpena

February 7—The Fresh Palate & Red Brick restaurants hosted 7 juniors and seniors from Alcona Community Schools for a talent tour in the Culinary Arts. Both restaurant owners, Eric Peterson/The Fresh Palate and Kevin Peterson/Red Brick are brothers who have very successful businesses in Alpena. A couple students are interested in going into Culinary Arts and a few other students were highly motivated to look into it.

Eric Peterson, owner and chef, gave the students a tour of his business and explained the areas of his business in the Center building; the prep area where all fresh products are cut and prepared for the day, the kitchen area where the food was displayed perfectly for his daily process of preparing each dish for the day, the bar area and restaurant seating areas. Eric then told the students they would make their own wraps, so they can have a hands-on approach and see what’s it’s like in a business kitchen. They were thrilled to be a part of the process. He showed each student the process on the line and what choices they had; then each student went down the line making their own wraps with Eric’s guidance. After everyone built their own wraps, he took them to the seating area and shared his personal story while they ate their lunch. Eric explained how he first got started after high school. His personal story was incredible as it truly relates to life today with high school students not really knowing what they want to do or where they want to go. His journey while always working in the food and service industry, has helped him hone his skills and deliberation on how to speak and please guests. He opened The Fresh Palate in 2009 and has been living his dream since. Eric uses all fresh products creating unique, organic, healthy meals with an energetic, earth conscious and friendly way.  He ended his story by telling the students to always follow your heart, you are our future.

The students then walked right across the street to the Red Brick.  As they entered, Kevin Peterson, owner and chef had smoothies freshly made and ready for the group to drink. The House of Dragon smoothies were incredible and everyone loved them! Kevin shared how he got into the business by going to chef school and wanted to move his “one day” dream to a reality. The students were focused on what Kevin was saying due to him providing a mini history class on the age of his buildings. Kevin renovated a 100+ year old building which used to be a well-known bar in Alpena and turned it into a fine dining restaurant. He shared that his desire was to provide upscale cuisine, craft beer and great whiskey to the community. Students toured the dining room, storage rooms with huge walk- in coolers, the bar area, the kitchen, the smoothie room, the outdoor dining area and a very special room that Kevin kept from the old bar which is now a gathering area with nice wall paintings. Kevin explained the process and flow of how orders are set up in the kitchen and the two key people that communicate and make it happen on the line.  He went on to talk about fostering relationships with local farmers so that every dish he makes is with fresh ingredients providing a wonderful taste and experience to his customers. 

Red Brick has been open for three years now and Kevin explained how busy they are. Students were impressed that the business only operates five days a week and employees get two days off. Kevin’s focus is to take care of his employees as well as provide a great place for customers to sit down for dinner, watch a game, or stop and have a drink.  Students truly enjoyed the smoothie as well as the old heritage history of a building that’s literally seven times as old as the students are.

Students loved that both owners use fresh and natural ingredients. Overall, the students were very happy and impressed with both tours and thought both owners/chefs were very interesting.


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