Jessica Klymchuk, News Editor Ω
Despite earlier reports, no decision has been made to close Accolades. However, changes are expected in response to budgetary constraints.
“We are in discussions around reforming the operations of Accolades,” said vice president advancement Christopher Seguin.
A press release from TRU media relations and communications manager Diana Skoglund said discussions are exploring options related to the culinary arts program, and that TRU is looking to have an alternative plan in place by the fall 2014 semester.
In regards to whether or not Accolades will close in the fall, Seguin said TRU is going to work to avoid shutting down the restaurant, which was recommended by the national restaurant guide Where to Eat in Canada.
“We are going to do everything that we can to not have that happen, including reforming practices and looking at hours of operation,” he said.
The release said the budgetary restraints that are currently affecting the culinary arts program include faculty and staff salary increases and the lack of a general funding increase in many years. The release said the two per cent increase in tuition revenue will not cover rising operating costs as well as annual costs continuing to rise due to inflation.
“For the last recent years our budget has been frozen, meaning every year we have to do more with less. That includes the recent labour settlements, it includes everything that we pay more every year for,” Seguin said. “So we have to find ways to become more efficient.”
TRU plans to reduce its operating costs by 5.1 per cent for the next two years.
The press release said students would not be negatively affected if any changes to the operation of Accolades were implemented and their training needs would still be met.
Accolades is run by students on the professional cook two program, which they take in their third and final semester in the culinary arts program. Students spend their final 14 weeks of the culinary arts program working afternoons and evenings preparing dishes for Accolades and its six-course menu.
In a 2012 interview for a documentary on the culinary arts program, professional cook two instructor Ron Rosentreter said Accolades allows students to show more presentation and fine dining skills.
“It has a very high reputation, so when they come out of here they are very prepared to go out and work in a fine dining restaurant,” department chair and instructor Ed Walker said in the documentary. “We try to make this a very real experience.”
TRU states in the press release that the highest priority amidst the discussions regarding program changes is that students continue get the most effective training
“Our main priority is to ensure that those students that are being trained using Accolades have the same quality experience and we will do so,” Seguin said.