Area high school students treated to an educational upscale country club experience to learn etiquette and inspire careers in hospitality
West Palm Beach, FL (May 29, 2014) – Ibis Golf & Country Club presented its third annual Club Tour and Etiquette Lunch Monday to 100 area high school students interested in careers in the hospitality or culinary industries. The participating students hail from three high schools (John I. Leonard, Forest Hill and Boynton Beach) and participate in the schools’ hospitality and culinary academies.
The program is organized in conjunction with CareerSource, a non-profit county-wide organization chartered by the state of Florida to aid in job preparedness training, job placement and skills training. Ibis funds the Etiquette Lunch as part of its “community give-back."
This unique event provides an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at a country club and teaches back-to-basics dining etiquette that many view as a lost art. And here’s the real fork dropper: according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, hospitality and tourism provide more jobs to Floridians than any other industry.
Stephen J. LoGiudice, Ibis Golf & Country Club’s General Manager, says he expects to see the hospitality industry continue to grow, and he recognizes the opportunity to cultivate careers for the local workforce. “A lot of kids come out of high school with no real direction or career skills,” he says. “Our goal is to provide real-world exposure and build excitement about pursuing a career in this great industry. We also provide the students with a phenomenal three-course meal, complete with a concurrent etiquette lesson which teaches life-long skills applicable to any job or social setting.”
Over the last four years, Ibis has become very involved with local high schools’ culinary and hospitality academies through guest lecturing, presentations, club tours and job shadowing. The Etiquette Lunch is a way for Ibis to give back to the local community while educating youth on the many employment opportunities that exist in the club industry. The event not only advocates invaluable personal and professional skills to South Florida’s future workforce, but also promotes the club business to future generations.
LoGiudice opened the day with a compelling presentation about how country clubs differ from other businesses in the hospitality industry, his role as a GM at Ibis, and general advice for success in the club business. Executive Chef Jerome Nicolas also presented to the students.
The students then broke into smaller groups to take a tour of the club that included access to the back of the house areas, such as the production kitchens, event spaces and the pro shop. Following the tour, the students were treated to a gourmet meal by Chef Nicolas, consisting of:
• First Course: Duo of vichyssoise and salad of baby greens with pine nuts, bacon, hardboiled egg and mustard vinaigrette
• Entrée: Seared chicken breast with mushroom marsala sauce, noisette potatoes and sautéed spinach
• Dessert: Black forest cake with vanilla sauce
Each elegant place setting included as many forks and glasses as you might put out for a family of four – but Michael Forgione, the assistant food and beverage director, coached the students with an entertaining and educational presentation full of tricks to help them remember all of the “rules” of proper dining. They were also provided an accompanying booklet on practical etiquette skills that can be applied in any personal or professional setting.
“Most traditional training happens in a classroom,” says Ibis’ human resources manager and Etiquette Lunch coordinator Mandy Long, “but we find that the hands-on education and experience of bringing the students to Ibis for an interactive lesson leaves an enduring impression on the participants that they talk about for years.” And Long would know – she chartered this program three years ago, and it has continued to grow in popularity as more students hear about it. “It’s really fun for us to see these young people get excited about learning!”
Long also adds, “We are very lucky at Ibis to have a membership and management team that is so supportive of the event!”
About Ibis Golf & Country Club:
Ibis is a secure, gated collection of 33 distinctly different neighborhoods, located on the quiet edge of northern West Palm Beach and just minutes from the heart of the city. It is adjacent to the pristine Grassy Waters Nature Preserve, a 12,000-acre, state-protected preserve, with wildlife, birds, and tropical vegetation. Ibis Golf & Country Club offers 54 holes of golf on three renowned Nicklaus golf courses, and the clubhouse features unique dining areas from casual to formal. The Fitness Center, with trainers on-site, is outfitted with equipment for cardio and resistance training, and the Tennis Center holds friendly tournaments and weekly group play with tennis professionals. Golf is center stage with top-notch professionals, including Martin Hall who heads instruction and is ranked by Golf Digest as one of the game’s Top 50 instructors. For more information, call 561.625.8500.