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Endicott sets the table for students’ success. Those students set the table for you.

Megan Cunningham, a sophomore from Waltham, pours wine for guests during dinner service at La Chanterelle, a teaching restaurant at Endicott College in Beverly, in April.Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe

BEVERLY — Dinner at La Chanterelle one recent evening bordered on elegant. The waitstaff, dressed in dark, long-sleeved shirts and waist-high bistro aprons, was attentive throughout the three-course meal. The view was breathtaking: floor-to-ceiling windows overlooked a deep green lawn abutting the sun-speckled Salem Sound.

But the arancini threw off the service.

Word had spread the lightly fried Italian rice balls atop a dollop of marinara sauce were delicious. So many customers ordered the appetizer, the kitchen got backed up and the entrees — Caprese Chicken, Grilled Swordfish, Seared Duck — were delayed. Customers merely shrugged. “This,” you could almost hear them saying to one another, “is how the staff learns to manage obstacles.”


La Chanterelle is no ordinary restaurant. It’s an Endicott College classroom located inside a historic brick building offering dinners at about $40 per person for 40 guests on Thursdays during the academic year. Students alternate semesters working alongside faculty and staff in the front of the house (managing operations and waiting on guests) and the back of the house (culinary training in the kitchen). It’s all part of their studies toward a business degree in hospitality management, a field that includes jobs in restaurants, hotels, casinos, and more.

“I can’t say enough about Endicott. It provided the best foundation to set my career in hospitality,” says Alicia Lapriore, a 2009 graduate and events director for Brookline’s The Country Club. “I never felt like a student. I felt like my professors were seeing us as adults. They threw us into situations. I’d be in back of La Chanterelle doing prep before an evening shift, cutting carrots, preparing escargot. It was magical to see the teamwork.”

Annie Keith helps a classmate sear cuts of meat during dinner service at La Chanterelle, a restaurant prepping students for formal service, at Endicott College, on April 13, 2023.Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe

“Endicott gave me the tools and the support to grow into a personality that could lead a team of 100 people,” adds Jonathan Pozzi, a 2019 graduate and assistant general manager of The Grand, a Seaport nightclub. “That was something I never thought I could do in high school. I was never the leader, I never wanted to talk, I never wanted to be in charge.”


Endicott’s students are part of the next wave of hospitality as the nation’s industry rebounds from the COVID pandemic and subsequent fallout, such as staffing shortages, food cost increases, and supply chain issues. In February 2020, almost 17 million people were employed in all hospitality areas, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. After a precipitous decline during the remainder of 2020 due to quitting or closures, employment has rebounded to 16.5 million employees in April, the latest figures.

While the rebound is welcome, the numbers fall short of demand. The National Restaurant Association, in its 2023 state of the industry findings, says 62 percent of restaurants reported being understaffed. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the US economy will add 1.9 million new jobs in leisure and hospitality between the period of 2021 and 2031. The projected increase is “the fastest of any sector,” the bureau reports.

Shelly Donahue takes orders during dinner service at La Chanterelle.Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe

“We definitely need more people joining the hospitality industry,” says chef Will Gilson, who owns Cambridge spots Puritan & Company, Puritan Oyster Bar, The Lexington, Café Beatrice, and Geppetto. “Most of our restaurants operate at three-quarters of the roster. Asking people to do double duty can lead to burnout and turning away potential business.”


New England is rich with academic hospitality programs happy to fill hiring voids: Boston University, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Johnson & Wales in Providence are among the most well-known. Endicott, though, touts the intimacy offered by a small private college and an attractive restaurant for on-site training. Undergraduate tuition is currently $38,312 annually, not including room and board.

Endicott prides itself on not simply educating its hospitality students, but training them to a high professional standard, and to be collaborative and sociable in the workplace. This is achieved through required service courses, such as those at La Chanterelle, and internships obtained with help from the college’s connections.

Shelly Donahue takes note of the wine selection before the start of dinner service at La Chanterelle in April.Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe

“I always thought hospitality was for extroverts, but it’s for any type of personality,” says Emma Cyr, who graduates in 2024. Training at La Chanterelle “gives you confidence and interpersonal skills. It teaches you how to read people and how to present yourself.” (She spoke via Zoom from her internship in Zurich at Les Roches, a top global hospitality school.)

Confidence is instilled, in part, by teaching student servers at La Chanterelle “to avoid phrases like ‘you guys’ and ‘are you all set?’ with guests and to keep it as professional as possible,” says Kayla Richards, an instructor and the restaurant’s operations coordinator. “Once you get into a position where you’re meeting CEOs and CFOs, if you have that level of professionalism, you can carry yourself so comfortably in any situation.”

La Chanterelle courses also teach students that no job is beneath them. “The higher up you get in your career doesn’t mean there’s more jobs you’re not doing. It means there’s more jobs you’re going to have to do,” Ryan Blodgett, Endicott’s culinary arts instructor and La Chanterelle’s general manager, tells students. “If there’s an emergency, you might have to mop floors and run the dishwasher, even if you’re the boss. You’re jumping in, not delegating, to prevent a domino effect of disaster.”


A student preps a salad during dinner service at La Chanterelle.Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe

The students participate in four workshops before La Chanterelle opens each semester. They practice properly opening wine bottles, how to approach guests and serve a table, prepping food alongside the chefs, and plating orders. Last fall, prior to service one night, the student waiters were told they could read special menu items to guests from their notes, but had to memorize the specials for subsequent services.

“Yes, the food is important, but what we are teaching our students is how to behave as professionals while they are working with food or while they are working with the general public or while they are working with each other,” says Rebecca Doyon, an Endicott instructor and La Chanterelle’s pastry chef. She spoke while instructing nervous students on how to make and fill the pâte à choux pastry dessert.

Gilson, who graduated from Johnson & Wales’s culinary arts and restaurant management program, says the restaurant industry rewards hard workers. “We’ve had servers in the last year who made six figures,” he says. “If you have a leg up in experience, then you would be surprised at the pace at which you advance.”


Lilly Kyle, a freshman from Worcester, goes over the wine selection during dinner service at La Chanterelle, a teaching restaurant at Endicott College.Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe

But, Gilson acknowledges, it’s been particularly hard work since the pandemic. He says customers returned to restaurants and “some were being just awful to the staff because there was, in some way, pent-up frustration with the world and they hadn’t dined out in so long. A lot of people left the industry after that. Folks who stayed would be very happy to see a new generation come out of hospitality programs and enter with this potential for making [guests] feel special.”

Endicott was also affected by the pandemic. Enrollment dropped. Anthony Donaldson of the college’s marketing office says enrollment in the hospitality program is regaining pre-pandemic levels. There was no hint, though, of enrollment issues at La Chanterelle during this academic year, which ended May 12. The restaurant was fully booked every Thursday of service.

Thursday dinners at La Chanterelle will resume in the fall. For more information about when reservations will become available, call 978-232-3040 or join the restaurant email list at www. endicott.edu/academics/schools/business/learning-labs/la-chanterelle-restaurant/contact-us.

Peggy Hernandez can be reached at peggyhernandezboston@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @Peggy_Hernandez

Chef Ryan Blodgett helps a student prep asparagus during dinner service at La Chanterelle.Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe