Students serve up Stephen Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President of Durham College Don Lovisa meet in the main lobby of the Centre for Food at the Whitby campus where Bistro ’67 is located. Photo taken by Justin Christie

Imagine being a server at a new job or you’re a culinary student at a restaurant and you’re told last minute Stephen Harper is coming in to eat. That’s what it was like for the staff and students at Bistro ’67, the student restaurant in the Centre for Food at the Whitby campus.

“Pretty much when I walked into the kitchen they were like so we’ve got the Prime Minister coming in,” said Michael Stowell-Smith, a second year culinary and hospitality management student.

The Canadian Prime Minister’s visit was last minute and took almost everyone by surprise. He came out for dinner at Bistro ’67 last Thursday on October 9th.

“We knew someone was coming the day before but who it exactly was we didn’t know until an hour beforehand,” said Kaitlyn Dover, a server at Bistro ’67.

According to the staff and students around him, Harper seemed to enjoy his visit.

“He was talking a lot to the people around him and we did get compliments to the chef and he told us everything was great,’ said Elise Roy, a culinary management student.

For dinner Harper enjoyed lamb, potatoes, and green beans.

“He cleared his plate, there wasn’t a spec left on it and he said it was delicious,” said Dover.

Students didn’t get too much of an opportunity to interact with the Prime Minister.

“He was just kind of here for dinner,” said Dover, “He shook our hands and all that jazz but he kept to himself, chatting it up with his guests.”

There was a chance for a photo-op where Harper wanted some of the staff and students in it.

“We made sure we were all clean, got out picture taken and then he and his entire entourage shook everyone’s hand, met everyone, asked our names, and asked about the program,” said Stowell-Smith.

Some of the students had more one on one time with Harper’s security detail.

“They were hilarious, I think there were six of them at separate tables and they were just so funny, cracking jokes with us,” said Dover, “But they were serious one was in the kitchen at all times, who’s food is that, how long for this, how much more food, what is he having, let me give it the once over.”

Other students didn’t find the experience all too different.

“My mom is a politician,” said Roy, “ I’ve been around politicians so to me they’re like normal people.”

So why did Harper decide to come to the Whitby campus for dinner?

“Apparently he just heard about it, he wasn’t doing a tour of the school or anything like that. He heard about it and wanted to swing by,” said Dover.