[caption id="attachment_351864" align="alignright" width="526"] 5650 W. Fond du Lac Ave. (Courtesy Google)[/caption]
Local chef and restaurateur Michael Feker wants to open a new concept on Milwaukee's north side that would serve as a classroom for culinary arts training.
Feker would open the teaching restaurant in a 2,540-square-foot city-owned building, located at 5650 W. Fond du Lac Ave., that he plans to purchase for $10,000. The city will consider the proposal at a hearing on June 12.
The concept would train culinary students who are interested in careers in the food and restaurant industries. Feker said he would employ his students while training them in a variety of operational skills, including cooking, serving, catering, food responsibility, hospitality and finance.
"I'm proud of all my restaurants, but at the same time, when you teach others and create flavor soldiers, you become a more powerful army," Feker said.
Feker owns Italian restaurant Il Mito in Wauwatosa and globally-inspired restaurant and catering service Zesti in Hartland. In late March, he opened 2Mesa, a Mexican restaurant on Milwaukee’s west side.
Feker said the north side restaurant, which he hopes to open by year's end, would offer globally-inspired cuisine to educate his students on international food scenes. It would be fully operated by eight to 10 students at one time, who can work and train at the restaurant for as long as they'd like, Feker said.
"There's no limit to the program," he said. "It's contingent on what they want to get out of it. Some students will absorb what they need to absorb in one month, three months or one year."
Feker said he has been involved with a culinary training program through the Social Development Commission, which is located in Milwaukee's Lindsay Heights neighborhood. It trains and prepares students for culinary industry jobs.
"I am not concerned with the success of (the restaurant)," Feker said. "Because if one life is touched, it is already successful. This is not about me being successful, this is about me being used as an instrument to give back."
The building, which formerly housed Szechuan Chinese Restaurant, would be renovated to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere, Feker said. Students will also be involved with building improvements, which will include electrical and plumbing updates and interior cosmetic changes. Feker expects renovation costs to be $250,000, according to a land disposition report.