By Adam Biszantz
You have probably been a customer of chef Jeff Bricker at some point if you’ve ever lived on the Southside.
Bricker started a career in the food industry at his family’s Kentucky Fried Chicken at the age of 15. Maybe you’ve eaten at the Columns Ballroom and Catering in Greenwood, later called The Colonnade Room, which he and his wife owned. While cooking always has been his passion, the hours needed to run a business took its toll. In 2002, Bricker sold his catering business and decided to go back to Ivy Tech to teach the love of his craft.
Since 2004, Bricker has served as chair of the Department of Hospitality Administration at Ivy Tech. Students from six classes of the program are involved in planning and executing the Global Food Tour, held at the Culinary and Conference Center of Ivy Tech’s campus, 2820 N. Meridian St., from 6-9 p.m., March 7.
“Students have planned great global menu items for a culinary trip around the world while raising funds to support international student travel,” Bricker said.
If you can’t make the event, visit the multi-storied Ivy Tech Culinary Center at 2820 N. Meridian St., funded by a $23 million grant from the Lilly Foundation to remodel the Stouffer’s Hotel, where Elvis stayed the night of his last concert in 1977. At the top is Courses Restaurant, which advertises itself as “the best view of the city”.
Students in the Hospitality program get experience performing their skills at Courses, as the restaurant is the classroom. While the restaurant is only open during certain times of the school year, the Courses Cafe, also run by students, is on the first floor and open Monday through Thursday during semesters, 7:30 a.m.-1:30 pm. The cafe offers a fantastic breakfast and lunch menu. Everything from filet to alligator is on the menu, which changes weekly. Pastries and decorated cakes are on display and whole cakes can be purchased for $8-11.
Over the years, Bricker has taught his love of cooking to thousands of students. While he continues, he also looks forward to his next conquest: taking over the grocery aisle with his Organic Brick House Vinaigrettes. You can meet Chef Bricker in person on March 7 or find him on Facebook at Chef Bricker’s Brick House Vinaigrettes or at chefbricker.com.
Tickets for Global Food Tour are $50 per person; the event will feature inspired flavors from Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. Tickets are still available on Ivy Tech’s website: connect.ivytech.edu/GlobalFoodTour.