Conestoga news

October 1, 2011 9:42 AM

Tasty times hit Waterloo Campus

The leaves are changing colour and the temperature is dropping yet there's something in bloom at Waterloo campus.

bloom is Conestoga College’s full service dining room, which will be open to the public on Oct. 17. The dining room is operated by first- and second-year hospitality and culinary students as a part of their curriculum.

“We will be running different aspects of it, everybody gets a position in the restaurant when we’re in full swing,” said first-year hospitality and hotel management student Paul Chesney.

“They throw you right into it, so it’s a lot to take in, but it’s good; a lot of practical, hands-on work.”

Matthew Worden, sommelier and maître d’ at bloom, said, “It gives an appreciation for how the dining room operates, what the protocol is, how things work, to understand how things go in the kitchen and on the floor.”

Worden, who also teaches at the school, is focused on making opportunities for students after they graduate.

“My goal for my students is to really build the brand of Conestoga College and of bloom,” he said.

“So the student leaves here with a real branded element to their diploma.”

It’s a goal which is well on its way to achievement, thanks to recent accolades.

“bloom recently got recognized by Wine Spectator International for our wine list,” said Worden. “We got awarded a wine list of excellence. There are about 3,000 restaurants in the world that get recognized for this award, so to be a culinary school and have that distinction is kind of a big deal.”

There are 170 different wines on the list and they range from $20 to $280 a bottle. Worden said the same bottles would probably go for three times that much at a normal restaurant.

Bargains at bloom aren’t restricted to booze however, as a three-course meal usually costs around $16.

“Certainly the value is here, and many guests leave saying, ‘my goodness, we don’t even dine like this at a proper restaurant,’” said Worden.

bloom can seat between 45 and 50 people and will be serving dinner on Mondays and Tuesdays and lunch from Tuesday to Friday.

The dining room has a history of filling up fast however, so, to guarantee a table, Worden recommends making your reservation a week in advance.

Reservations can be made online at or through the college website.

They can also be made by email at! or by phone at 519-885-0501.

This story was originally featured in SPOKE written by Devon Smith