There was no shortage of servers and chefs at Lake Park Bistro on August 4, 2015. The Bistro hosted an Alumni Dinner, bringing back employees from over the past 20 years. A cocktail reception that resembled a class reunion had past and current employees mingling and sharing stories from the past two decades.

Joe Bartolotta remarked, “It’s amazing to see all the people that have come and gone over the years. We are really like a big family. It’s great to hear how everyone is doing and learn about where their lives have taken them.”

Though the front of the house was hopping, the back of the house was where the real party was. Miles Borghgraef (2012-Present) Chef de Cuisine, Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro, Audrey Vandenburgh (1996-2005) Chef, Wild Earth Cucina Italiana, John Korycki (1995-1997) Director of Culinary Education at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Adam Siegel (2000-Present) Executive Chef of the Bartolotta Restaurants, Mark Weber (1995-2002) Executive Chef at Mason Street Grill and Annie Ghobrial (2007-2013) Bakery Manager of Outpost Natural Food Cooperative each prepared a course for this once-in-a-lifetime event. Each preparation was as different as the chefs, but the whole staff and each guest chef worked together to get 185 dishes plated.

Adam Siegel, who worked under Mark Weber upon arriving at Lake Park Bistro in 2000, said, “It was fun to be back in the kitchen with all these chefs I worked with for so long. We got right back into the routine and it was very cool to see everyone together again.”

The menu included duck rillettes, ravioli with heirloom tomatoes and summer squash, Bouillabaisse, roast lamb rack, and souffle glace all paired with wine.

Guests and former employees left happy and full of fond memories. Who says you can’t go home again?