La Brigade sells pizza-making kits in first event of the year


Senior Nolan Fazzini weighs dough to be sold in pizza kits. Food is prepared by members of the program in the week leading up to the event. (Finnegan Belleau)

Students enrolled in the Food and Restaurant Management class prepared and sold pizza-making kits on Friday, September 21 in their first operation of the semester.

The Food and Restaurant Management program allows students to run the La Brigade restaurant, where luncheons are held for paying customers throughout the year. The goal of the course is to mimic a traditional restaurant work environment for those thinking about entering the industry. Last week, La Brigade started by selling pizza kits, a popular item from the previous school year. These kits include dough, sauce, cheese and any toppings customers request.

“Pizza kits were a thing that we started last year during the pandemic when people couldn’t come in and have our luncheons in-person,” Elizabeth Greiwe, luncheon manager, said. “The customers, they get the dough, they get all the toppings that they order, instructions on how to roll it on how to bake it, that sort of thing. It was really popular last year so we decided to do it again this year because of COVID-19. It’s really cool because unlike our other luncheons where everybody gets served, they get to make it themselves which has been really fun for families with kids.”

Alongside complying with pandemic guidelines, pizza provided a unique opportunity for new and returning students to learn a variety of skills. 

“We also wanted to start with the pizza kits this year because there’s a lot of different skills that can be learned from it,” Greiwe said. “For example, there are many toppings they can cut to work on their knife skills, or they can work on a basic dough recipe without killing the yeast. It’s also just a good way for students to practice safety and sanitation. And since it’s not an in-person luncheon, where it gets really hectic and there’s a lot you need to get right the day of, you have the whole week so it’s easier to get them into it.”

Although La Brigade has been having solely to-go events since the outbreak of COVID-19, the class does plan on returning to in-person luncheons sometime this year. These events, which take place inside a dining room adjacent to the Food and Restaurant Management classroom, would likely have to feature less people than previous years.

“For a normal luncheon we would fill up the restaurant with all the supplies we need,” senior Nolan Fazzini said. “It’s usually a lot more packed than it will be this year, and we have a few more tables in the dining room. People would come in, they’d get seated by the hostess, and then all at once per table, we’d bring out their first course. We also have three or four people out here making sure the drinks are filled and we provide anything else they need.”

It is unclear how La Brigade will continue to operate in the coming year as pandemic guidelines for restaurants change. A concern is that if dining sizes decrease dramatically, students may not have as much work to do as in previous classes. One possible plan going forward is to have a hybrid between to-go orders and in-person dining.

“We have some different ideas on how we’re going to work things,” Food and Restaurant Management teacher Wendy Albert said. “We might have to do limited in-person dining and then couple that with to-go. We’d have a crew working in the classroom on all the orders to-go and then we’d have another crew inside the main kitchen cooking for the people dining in-person, just to make sure everybody is doing something.”

Regardless of what La Brigade ends up planning in terms of events, the students and teachers involved are excited for the upcoming year. 

“With Food and Restaurant Management you’re learning a lot of career skills that can be applied to any field beyond just culinary,” Albert said. “Just that aspect of customer service, that aspect of running a business is really valuable for students even if working in hospitality and culinary isn’t their end goal. Plus, it’s also just a really fun year-long class where we all get to know each other very well. It’s a joy and I love having students that take it multiple years.”

For more information on La Brigade and upcoming events you can email the staff at [email protected]