New year, new look for Benchmark


Shown above: Artistic rendering of Benchmark renovation to be completed at the end of January. 
Benchmark restaurant is raising the bar for 2012.

After shutting down for renovations in late December, the Canadian Food and Wine Institute’s on-campus restaurant is scheduled to re-open in late January. Its new look and new focus aims to better integrate the CFWI’s trio of exemplary food, wine and beer programs.

While the upscale casual on-campus restaurant has always showcased the talents of its culinary students, student-made wine and beer products will now have their place in the limelight.  A new 23-foot-long bar, made of blackened steel panels and rough sawn white oak topped with white marble, will be a focal point of the restaurant with NC wine and beer, as well as other offerings.  In addition, wine and beer recommendations – NC wine and beer, as well as other labels – will accompany each food item on the new menu.

The bar will also provide space for students to conduct demonstrations inside the restaurant, clearly visible to the diners.  

Architect Jason Smirnis of Toronto-based Building Arts Architects Inc. said the new renovations were designed to complement the dining experience the restaurant offers.

“The new restaurant design incorporates crafted raw materials and hand-made details all intended to parallel the art and experience of food and wine production,” he said.

A new entrance will have illuminated signage and wall panels fashioned out of blackened steel and white oak. New leather upholstered seating will complement the branded wood tabletops. 

Renovations are scheduled to be completed by in late January, and an official opening event is being planned for January 27, 2012.

In addition to the restaurant re-opening, Benchmark will host  Caps, Corks and Forks in February where students from the college’s wine programs will face off against students from the college’s new Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program. After sampling a beer and wine pairing – selected by beer and wine students respectively  – to accompany each of the six courses, guests will vote on best match for each course.  Caps, Corks and Forks will be held on Feb. 2, 2012.


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