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‘Food is our vehicle for learning’

Reimagined cafe, run by culinary students, opens at GRCC

Grand Rapids — “Order number five! Order number five.” 

A voice over a microphone breaks through the low buzz of Grand Rapids Community College’s lunch crowd.

Tables and chairs sit opposite a student-run food counter and kitchen — a familiar layout with a new, fresh update. 

Previously known as Art and Bev’s, Foodology is the newest GRCC campus lunch spot, operated by Secchia Institute for Culinary Education students under the guidance and supervision of Chef Audrey Heckwolf.

“Foodology is very different from the previous eatery, Art & Bev’s,” Heckwolf said. “Mainly, we have several menu changes, offering less fried food and more healthier, made in-house options.” 

In addition to hot paninis, soups and chicken fingers, Foodology offers grab-and-go lunches, protein snack boxes and bakery items, all made by culinary students and staff. 

“It was important to me to change the name and reimagine the identity of the place,” Heckwolf said. “Since we’re a community college with biology and psychology classes, I thought ‘Foodology’ would fit in.” 

GRCC’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education professor and chef Audrey Heckwolf is overseeing Foodology this year

A café serving coffee, espresso and lattes also made its debut this semester at Foodology. 

When she took on the Bakery Deli Operations class that operates the restaurant, Heckwolf had a vision for how the space should look and what her students should take away from the experience. 

“I would really like them to be re-engaged in what they’re learning, as a lot of what we learn is applicable to what students want to do after they leave here,” she said. “We talk about learning skills versus management skills, how to manage a staff and create longevity in a food business.”

Heckwolf’s students also learn to establish good systems of communication within a kitchen and behind a food counter.

“I tell students it’s not all about the food; food is our vehicle for learning,” Heckwolf said. “It’s about learning how to successfully serve customers and run a business. I’m excited about the new food but even more so about students learning the curriculum.” 

While working at Foodology, students get the opportunity to rotate between the different stations. Third-year culinary student Marley Marano was working behind the register on this particular day. 

“This class has been great so far,” Marano said. “I had a lot of bakery classes with Chef Heckwolf and this one has been learning how to do quick service and how to manage a restaurant.”

Marano wants to run her own personal chef business after earning her degree from GRCC and feels like she’s learning applicable skills working at Foodology.  

“Chef Heckwolf has been a great mentor,” she added. “She’s a boss lady.” 

Foodology is open to GRCC staff, students and the greater community Tuesdays through Thursdays, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., in the Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center. New food and bakery specials are offered each day.

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Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark is a reporter covering Byron Center, Caledonia, Godfrey-Lee, Kenowa Hills and Thornapple Kellogg. She grew up in metro Detroit and her journalism journey brought her west to Grand Rapids via Michigan State University where she covered features and campus news for The State News. She also co-authored three 100-question guides to increase understanding and awareness of various human identities, through the MSU School of Journalism. Following graduation, she worked as a beat reporter for The Ann Arbor News, covering stories on education, community, prison arts and poetry, before finding her calling in education reporting and landing at SNN. Alexis is also the author of a poetry chapbook, “Learning to Sleep in the Middle of the Bed.”


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