Under the Big Top

NMU students prepare for circus-themed dining event

For the second entree during the 2018 main event, Northern Michigan University students of the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program made and served a pastry encrusted beef wellington with duxelle, prosciutto, demi-glace, roasted herb fingerlings, and sweet garlic asparagus. (Photo courtesy of NMU)

MARQUETTE — Step right up! Step right in! The Main Event is about to begin!

The circus is coming to Marquette, but not the way one might think.

Students enrolled in Northern Michigan University’s banquets and catering course through the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program are busy preparing for their last big hurrah of the semester — the 2019 Main Event.

This year, students in the course voted in favor of a circus-themed function they’ve named “Under the Big Top.”

The event, which begins at 6:30 p.m. April 19 in NMU’s Jacobetti Complex, includes live and interactive entertainment, a cocktail hour, sideshow oddities,a silent auction and a six-course meal with beverage pairings. Tickets are $100 per person, of which $60 is considered a charitable donation toward the program’s study abroad scholarship.

“The banquets and catering class puts this event on every year. It’s a night of drinks and food and entertainment — and then a lot of the proceeds go to anyone in the program who choses to study abroad,” said Delaney Marcott, NMU sophomore and back of house manager/executive chef. “Our goal is $4,000 this year and we do a silent auction that also helps with that. The scholarships are donated to whoever decides to study abroad and are in the program. It doesn’t go to all of us or one person in particular, just whoever decides to do it.”

There’s around 20 students currently in the banquets and catering course, Marcott said, adding that the class recently solidified a menu they’re pleased with.

“When we decided what theme we wanted to go with, the team kind of planned a menu and kept reworking it to amp up the creativity,” she said.

The class presently has a tentative menu they’re working with, she added. So far, for hor d’oeuvres, they’re thinking avocado watermelon poke in cucumber cups, chipotle shrimp skewers with five-spice mango sauce and mini rye corn dogs. They’re also considering amuse bouche, brie lollipop puffs and a shaved asparagus spring salad after the appetizers are served.

As for the first entree, bay scallops with miso sweet potato puree and a blackberry-ginger sorbet are currently on the menu. The second entree they’ve been working with is lamb lollipops with a vegetable medley.

And for dessert — a classic cheesecake loaded with cotton candy, a funnel cake, a classic macaron, poprocks and caramel corn.

Creative cocktails will also be available for guests, including “boozy snow-cones,” Marcott said.

“It’s going to be fun. I’m really excited about the entertainment, too,” she said, noting Double Trouble DJs will provide services. “There’ll be games with prizes, music, cotton candy and popcorn machines, side oddities, you know, things that you’d see at a circus.”

Each year, a huge part of the Main Event is the silent auction. Local businesses and students put together baskets consisting of a wide-variety of items to be auctioned off.

To RSVP to the 2019 Main Event, visit connect.nmu.edu/mainevent2019 or contact NMU Foundation at 906-227-2627. For more information, visit the “NMU Main Event” Facebook page.

Anyone who would like to support the students and NMU’s Hospitality and Tourism Management Program can also visit the student-run restaurant, Chez Nous, which is now open every Tuesday and Thursday from 11 to 1 p.m. until the end of April. Chez Nous is located in NMU’s Jacobetti Complex and is open to the public. Reservations are suggested, but not always necessary. Takeout is also available. More information can be found on the Chez Nous Facebook page, or to make a reservation, call 906-227-1981.

Jaymie Depew can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is jdepew@miningjournal.net.