Friday, 15 January 2021 14:27

RichmondCC working on tasty menu for new café

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U.S. Foods Division Chef Jennifer Leamons pulls pizza from the oven for Richmond Community College Café Manager Chuck Watson and sets it with other food to be considered for the café’s menu. U.S. Foods Division Chef Jennifer Leamons pulls pizza from the oven for Richmond Community College Café Manager Chuck Watson and sets it with other food to be considered for the café’s menu. RichmondCC

HAMLET — Cauliflower pizza crust, organic tortelloni, veggie burger, Philly cheesesteak, bacon, French fries and fried shrimp were just a few items that Chuck Watson and other Richmond Community College staff taste-tested for the menu of the new café.


Watson was recently hired to be the café manager and will be overseeing its operations when it opens to both students and the public on Feb. 1. Watson brings 15 years of restaurant experience to the position. 

“I have worked every position there is to work in the industry, from general manager, kitchen manager and service manager. My work experience ranges from fine dining to quick service, including popular places such as Chili’s, Fatz and Cook Out,” Watson said.   

The café, which is located on the Hamlet Campus, overlooks the RichmondCC lake and includes a patio for outdoor seating. 

The College is now in the process of developing the menu and brought in a chef from U.S. Foods to provide samples of different options, including healthy alternatives.  

U.S. Foods Division Chef Jennifer Leamons and salesman Ray Simmons came to campus on Tuesday, and Leamons worked her magic in the kitchen, dishing up one tasty sample after another in the café’s kitchen. 

 RichmondCC Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Brent Barbee joined Watson in sampling the food from U.S. Foods and listened to advice from Leamons on food preparation and presentation.

 “The College has been looking forward to this for many years. We had a vision to build a quality facility on our campus that would provide quality food at affordable prices first and foremost to our students, but also our employees and potentially local citizens as well,” Barbee said. “Our students and employees identified the café as a need several years ago, and we are thankful for the support we have received to make this dream a reality.”

 Construction for the café was funded by money from the ConnectNC bond referendum that was passed by N.C. voters in 2016. RichmondCC received $7.22 million from the bond for long-standing facility improvements and renovations. The Richmond County Community Foundation and the Cole Foundation also provided grant money for the café. 

 In addition to Watson, the College is also looking to hire an assistant manager to help with the daily operational activities for the café and certain catered events. The position will require knowledgeable skills and capabilities cooking and operating within a commercial kitchen environment. To  learn more about the position or to apply, visit www.richmondcc.edu/contact-us/employment or call (910) 410-1700.