Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dying to Dine

An ad in today's Northwest Herald announces a "mystery" dinner to be presented by the MCC Culinary Management Department. And where will it be held? At MCC? No..... at Woodstock North High School.

The MCC Culinary Management Department and the MCC forensics team (who?) will offer a four-course, dinner-theater experience on Saturday, March 27 at 5:30pm. (N.B., as of 3/26/10, the date for this dinner has been changed to May 8.)

The cost? At the door; $45 in advance. Details at

Now, what's wrong with this?

When a bed-and-breakfast owner, with a major (I'm talkin' MAJOR) financial investment in a Woodstock B&B (and not the new one, either) wanted to host mystery dinners, she was told, "It ain't gonna happen." She was told she could serve breakfast; that's it. And a fine gourmet breakfast she does serve.

But serve dinner? You know, gather a dozen people for a fine meal and a mystery? Maybe with a little wine? And an after-dinner drink? Oh, would she need a liquor license for that? The McHenry County Health Department, still operating under Ice-Age rules, declared that dinner wasn't allowed; breakfast, only.

Another B&B owner in the County was told not to serve homemade baked treats to her guests. Now this is pretty stupid; right? She can serve a gourmet breakfast, prepared in her own kitchen, but she can't bake chocolate chip cookies for her guests? That's because she doesn't have a Health Department-approved kitchen.

Now just imagine the small, intimate experience of a gourmet dinner and mystery theater experience in a "cold" classroom at a public high school. Worth $45-55? What in the world are the students going to serve that could possibly be worth $45 per person??? Certainly, no cocktails or wine with a "fine" dinner. It's on a public high school campus.

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