Hospitality business students put heart into planning annual dinner
There are several traditions at MSU that are intertwined within the students, fans and alumni that have set foot on the East Lansing campus.
The range from tailgating on football Saturdays, to kissing your significant under the Beaumont Tower to gain luck on your future marriage, or taking a picture with Sparty.
Les Gourmets is a dinner that showcases meals cooked by hospitality business students. This year, it featured a Route 66 theme called “A Fork in the Road.”
“This year we’re featuring live action stations,” Les Gourmets CFO Stephanie Ragatzki said. “We’re going to have five different stations representing different areas of the United States. Each of our stations will feature unique cuisine from those different areas.”
This year 's board consisted of 29 members. The group of 29 students are tasked with organizing what food is served at the dinner, marketing the event, amongst other things.
“It’s really cool to see everyone get so excited about this,” Les Gourmets CEO Sarah Lerche said. “The whole hospitality school, you can feel the vibe among everyone. Everyone is just so excited and honestly, to me that’s the greatest feeling.”
Ragatzki said planning for this years Les Gourmets dinner starts during early September, to the early weeks of April.
“We use that whole time to plan and get the details down in order to put on such a grand event,” Ragatzki, a hospitality business senior, said.
In this time, the board spends hours, week after week planning this event, Ragatzki said she treats it more than just an event.
“I kind of treat it like a three credit or four credit class,” Ragatzki said. “Outside of our meetings, I’d say each board member spends at least three to four hours or more trying to come together with their updates.”
Spending this much time on planning on Les Gourmets, gives hospitality students “realistic experience” in the field, Ragatzki said.
“I want to open my own business–my own restaurant–one day,” Ragatzki said. “Being exposed to using a budget and tracking cash flow and working with 29 other board members, it’s really given me very great experience to bring along with me after I graduate.”
For COO of Les Gourmets and hospitality business senior Natalie Grimmer, she said you don’t get the experience from running Les Gourmets in the classroom.
“You really get to see all sides of what goes into planning an event,” Grimmer said. “There’s something for everybody.”
Grimmer said one of her favorite parts of being apart of Les Gourmets is seeing how her leadership has affected her co-workers.
“You can see how other board members have grown from being mentored by you,” Grimmer said.
Lerche echoed this, and said you also have to lead people that may be older than you.
“You’re all working so hard for the same one goal, you get extremely close,” Lerche, a hospitality business senior, said. “It’s great to be able to help out students and give them the passion because I know I found my passion, but it’s great to watch other students find that passion.”
Ragatzki said her favorite part of Les Gourmets, is to see “a whole year's worth” of work come full circle.
“Just watching it all come together at the end has always been the greatest feeling for me,” Ragatzki said. “I know that seeing all the guests … who come to the event, it’s so great to just see them really enjoy themselves take in what we planned for them, because that’s what hospitality is all about it. Making people feel good and providing excellent guest experiences.”