I have been in the hospitality/tourism industry in Lehigh Valley for over 21 years. (Seems like an eternity doesn't it?) And by my calculations, I have another 21+ to go before I can retire. But even if I'd leave today, I'm confident that the next crop of hospitality professionals are on the horizon based on my recent trip to Hampton Winds Restaurant.

Most of you don't know that I am a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, so when I was asked to attend a meeting at Northampton Community College's Hampton Winds Restaurant, I was ecstatic. The gourmet restaurant is the training grounds for NCC's Culinary Arts students. Seeing those students in action really brought me back to the days when I chose to be in the field I am still in. Even though I am no longer in a kitchen or the "front of the house," I am still very closely connected and promote the local restaurants for the benefit of the economy.

So, besides a "back of the house" tour, the dining experience was incredible. For $30 plus tax and gratuity (beverage not included), here's what I enjoyed:

Appetizer: Shrimp Three Ways - grilled, chilled and panko crusted with sweet chili cocktail and coconut curry dipping sauces

Soup: White Bean and Port Wine - with Chorizo sausage and a Port wine reduction

Salad: Arugula Salad - Brulee goat cheese, toasted almonds, roasted vegetables drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette

Entrée: NY Strip Steak - served with root vegetable gratin, grilled asparagus and Cognac jus

Dessert: Creme Brulee - nothing more to say about that except it was divine!

The restaurant is BYOB (limit one bottle of wine per party of two) which made the price even better. The service was outstanding. The kids really did a great job. They need your feedback to become the best they can be.

Without public support, this valuable experience would not be possible for the students. Have you shown your support yet?