Be Our Guest: Edison Culinary Students Provide Fine Dining Experience for Community Members and School Staff

By Office of Communications
March 05, 2024
Community members frequent Bistro 1093

Preparing to enjoy a delicious three-course lunch for just $12, local retiree Carol Deedy asks, “Where else can you get a meal of this quality at this price? The food and the service is excellent!”

Ms. Deedy had another reason to stop by Edison Academy’s Bistro 1093 that day; her granddaughter Adriana Riley was one of the Culinary Arts students preparing the Italian pasta fagioli soup for the international-themed lunch.

Eleventh grader Adriana was too busy working through the line of people collecting their take-out orders to be nervous about her grandmother’s assessment. “She always says she likes my food,” she said, smiling.

Students handle dozens of 'to-go' orders

Bistro 1093 — named for the number of patents held by Thomas Edison — has been welcoming guests at the pop-up restaurant inside the Academy for many years. With good reason, it has been described as one of the best-kept culinary secrets in all of Fairfax County.

Along with offering great food, the lunch service also fulfills a community purpose; diners, often neighborhood senior citizens, return week after week to socialize and meet new people. 

“To provide a space where the community can come together and enjoy everything Bistro 1093 has to offer, while our students get real-life experience of the hospitality industry is fantastic," said Edison  Principal Mandy Burke.

On most Thursdays between January and May, approximately 20 diners pay just $12 to enjoy a three-course lunch that includes freshly baked bread and beverages from a menu researched, designed, tested, and prepared by Culinary Arts students.

A student in the kitchen checks off the orders as they come in

Under the guidance of Chef Glenn Walden,10th-12th graders enrolled in Culinary 1, 2 and 3, run the show, front and back of house, as if working at a traditional restaurant. 

They are responsible for setting the immaculately laid out tables with perfectly positioned silver and glassware, and with a menu placed at each setting. Out front, students welcome diners and guide them to their tables, taking care of ordering and explaining menus, while others handle the 100-plus “to-go” orders. Behind the scenes, is chopping, stirring, sautéing, and plates being prepped as the orders come flying in.

On the menu this week was a mouthwatering choice of Polish pierogies — dumplings with sautéed onions and brown butter — or pasta fagioli soup, an Italian recipe of ground beef, vegetables, beans, and pasta in a rich beef and tomato broth.The entrée choices were a spicy Indian chicken karahi with jasmine rice served with a yogurt side dish, Peruvian lomo saltado with jasmine rice, sautéed strips of beef, Amarillo chili, onion, tomato, and fries while the Filipino noodle dish of pancit bihon gave a vegan option. For dessert, diners choose from a French flan with baked custard and caramel sauce or a Japanese mochi matcha doughnut with a green tea-sugar glaze. 

Whatever is left over on Thursday is enjoyed by the class during a ‘family meal’ the following day.

Twelfth-grader Syla Ramirez travels to the Academy from South County High School to attend this program. Syla said they fell in love with culinary arts after just one class and have now decided to pursue the profession as a career with dreams of opening a bakery and pastry store one day.

“I always had a passion for food but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to pursue a career in that area. I thought I would give this class a go and see,” said Syla. “After one lesson, I fell in love with everything about the course. I adored it.”

Syla has now accepted a spot at the renowned Culinary Institute of America and will study for a bachelor's degree in the fall.

Chef Walden, who has led the Culinary Arts program at Edison since 2008, has high expectations of his students, many of whom leave the Academy with professionally-recognized qualifications that mean they can walk straight into a job.

“This is a class where work is done every day. Each student is expected to prepare and do their duties each day, as if they were in a paid position,” he said. “The adrenaline rush is real. The team works together to ensure everyone succeeds.”

If you want to try out Bistro 1093, you have four more dates before the end of the school year; March 14March 21April 25, and May 2.

Reservations must be made in advance for the dine-in option and online orders are taken for pick-up starting each Monday.

Contact Chef Walden at [email protected] to be added to the email distribution list which details the menus for the week, and how to make a reservation or place an order.

Several FCPS high school academies offer the Culinary Arts elective through our Career and Technical Education programming. Students learn everything from cooking skills to food safety, to knife skills, menu planning, and restaurant work.