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Teens offer fine dining restaurant
dining service

Restaurant TBD may be one of the best kept secrets in town.

So said Chef Andrew Griggs of – as in boundless education – of this new fine dining restaurant located at the Manteca Unified School District complex on Wednesday.

"It's all run by the students," he said, referring to his Level II culinary arts students in the be.cuisine program.

In all, 15 of them had catering and fine dining experience. Some will use this as spring board to culinary arts school after graduation.

Tait Hougen, 17, was just accepted to the Culinary Institute of America in Napa.

Cameron Press will be attending the Culinary Arts Academy in Switzerland.

Both worked at Restaurant TBD, with Hougen and Maria Alcazar serving as co-head chefs and Press as one of the servers.

The fine dining experience is held on most Wednesdays. Included is a three-course fixed menu prepared and served by students. Cost is $20 with all proceeds supporting the be.cuisine Culinary Arts Program.

On this day, Griggs noted that the menu was a collaborative effort with an Asian-food influence.

The first course otherwise known as the appetizer was that of an eggroll-wrapped mushroom cigars served with mixed green -- picked from the MUSD garden -- and a lumpia dipping sauce.

Students also made the focaccia bread.

The second course was a "Char Sui" pork loin served with a garlic and ginger fried rice.

The opera cake -- that's the almond cake with coffee and a Swiss meringue -- was the third course of this ever-changing menu.

Griggs said that Restaurant TBD is open to public by reservation-only, with seating taking place at 12:30 p.m. and 12:45. Call 209.858.7640 or email Veronica DeAnda at

Located behind the District Office main building at 2271 W. Louise Ave., Restaurant TBD was once a classroom.

"The students wanted to do a fine dining restaurant,” said Principal Carey Simoni.

DeAnda, who, like Griggs, is a chef and instructor, indicated that the students did everything including the contemporary art work and the upscale restaurant decor.

“(The students) got the donations and put the entire proposal on a vision board,” said Simoni, who was extremely pleased with their efforts and enthusiasm in making Restaurant TBD a reality.

She added: “This supports the vision (of – to empower students with skills and knowledge for post-secondary opportunities in a highly personalized learning environment."

More importantly, Simoni said, "they’re learning by doing.”