Hello Ms. Ladd,
I am so glad that you enjoyed your experience at CCA’s new restaurant. The students running the kitchen and dining room were excited to hear such great feedback about their work.
To address your concern about how we handle gratuities at Carême 350, I thought I’d offer a brief explanation. As you know, CCA is a culinary school whose mission it is to train students in the culinary arts and hospitality fields. Our student-run restaurant exists to provide a real-life laboratory for these students and those who work there are actually doing so as part of the curriculum. This six-week course teaches students how to operate in a real restaurant environment, with 3-week rotations in each the front and back of the house. The students working in our restaurant classroom are just learning the skills necessary to serve clientele in a fine dining establishment and therefore leaving a tip is not required at Carême 350. Still, some patrons choose to do so, which led us to come up with a way to see that those funds ultimately benefit our students, but in a manner that doesn’t taint the learning environment we strive to maintain. Therefore, all gratuities at Carême 350 are donated to the institution’s scholarship fund.
Periodically, we must hire additional students to fill in when a class is too small to keep the restaurant running on its own. To make up for the fact that tips are not part of their compensation, we pay such individuals at a rate approximately 50% higher than the hourly wage of the average restaurant server in San Francisco .
I hope I’ve been able to clear up this issue for you and look forward to welcoming you back to Carême 350 in the near future.
Jennifer White | President
California Culinary Academy| Le Cordon Bleu
350 Rhode Island Street, San Francisco , CA 94103