Student-run Different Taste closes

“Different Taste” opened for the last time on Thursday, April 28, serving people a healthy, quality lunch for a small price by students of the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS) at the Chez Bubba Bistro.

Different Taste started in January 2021 as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The hospitality students of SCS were unable to do their internships due to the fact that restaurants and hotels had to close down or had to adjust to the measures that were put in place by the Outbreak Management Team to prevent the spreading of the coronavirus.

At Different Taste, food was prepared and served by SCS students who wish to pursue a career in the hospitality sector and/or to work on a variety of social skills in a real-life work environment. Different Taste provided a very valuable learning opportunity for the students.

“It helped me a lot to learn new things in the kitchen and to work with people in the restaurant,” said student Agnes Hassell of Form 4V. “I have learned how to cook, to serve people. I have learned about wines, how to correctly set a table and how to make menus,” said Form 5V student Erika Anglero Liberata.

From left to right: Chez Bubba owner Claire Verbeke, chef Alejandro, Helen Johnson of the Saba Comprehensive School, and students Emely Rosa, Agnes Hassell and Erika Anglero Liberata.

Together with three other students, Tyanni Nicholson (5B), Emely Rosa (Pro 2) and Nacio Klaber (Pro 2), Hassell and Anglero Liberata each week served up to 37 customers, many of them regulars. Every Thursday, a different menu was offered, featuring food from a specific country or region. There was always a vegan option, along with a fish and meat dish. Coached by chef Alejandro, the students prepared the food from scratch, starting in the morning hours until the last customers were gone around 2:00 pm.

“Sometimes it gets very busy, but you keep going and you always stay friendly, because the customer comes first,” said Anglero Liberata. “The students received positive feedback all the time. They did extremely well,” said SCS assistant Helen Johnson, who helped coach the students. Different Taste had to stop because the students now need to focus on their portfolios in the final stage of their hospitality study.

“Different Taste has been very important for the students because they put in practice what they learned in class. They not only learned to cook, to choose the right wine and to use glassware, plates and utensils in the correct way, but they also learned everything about serving food and how to deal with unfriendly customers. It is a pity that it has to stop,” said Johnson. She hoped Different Taste would resume in the next academic year.

“I loved working with the students. It is too bad that it has to stop,” said Claire Verbeke of Chez Bubba. Asked why she gave this project her full support, she said: “I once went to school too and I was grateful for the learning opportunities and the patience of my teachers. I want to pass that down to these young people. I hope that this will also inspire others to work in the hospitality sector because it is hard to get personnel.”

“Looking back at the last 1.5 years, we can definitely say Different Taste was a success. Despite the positive support of the community, it is now also time to allow students to work in different businesses to gain experience,” said SCS Principal Anton Hermans.

The students and Johnson thanked Chez Bubba owners Hidde and Claire Verbeke “for their 100 percent support,” SCS Principal Hermans, SCS teacher Madelyn Johnson, chef Alejandro and the customers. “Without them, this would not have been a success.”

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