The Educated Palate Restaurant, a program of City College of San Francisco, has been serving the Yerba Buena neighborhood at the busy corner of Fourth and Mission streets for 30 years. What’s unique about this state-of-the-art restaurant, though, is that it’s managed by students of the College’s Culinary and Service Skills Training (CSST) program. This free program (yes, FREE!) provides students with hands-on restaurant training in cooking and management. The College’s program offers students two certificates: Food Technology & Dining Services and Baking & Pastry. Each requires 1,020 hours of intensive hands-on instruction over two semesters. Classes run Monday through Friday, six hours per day. And, students are only required to pay for their books, tools and uniforms over the two semesters. “There is no typical student in our program,” says Chris Johnson, Management Instructor with CSST. “Some might have struggled with high school, are in transition from another industry, or have an MBA but are looking to make a career change.” With less than 20 students in each class, they learn first-hand about restaurant and business operations, touching on things like food costing and ordering, menu planning and marketing. During the first semester, students work in the front of the house at the Educated Palate Restaurant, rotating weekly through such positions as waiter, dishwasher, expeditor, barista, manager, bartender and cashier. “They’re working directly with the public in our restaurant, gaining genuine skills,” says Johnson. In the second semester, they are in the kitchen – the back of the house -- preparing food for the restaurant and the adjoining café. (They’re actually downstairs in the large and bustling professional, commercial kitchen, where food is sent up to the restaurant by way of dumb-waiters.) The culinary curriculum is based in French technique, and although the program’s Chef Instructor determines the menu in order for students to perfect their skills, they can create specials and get quite creative. The menu changes by season and offers patrons some fantastic lunch choices in this modern, elegant restaurant. Don’t miss this gem of a restaurant in our neighborhood! Details of merriment: The Educated Palate at 88 4th Street is open to the public Monday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Fridays 11:30 to 1:00 p.m.