Wednesday was an important day in the nearly 30-year history of Hampton Winds, an educational restaurant attached to the Culinary Arts program at Northampton Community College that has been closed for almost 18 months due to the coronavirus pandemic and ‘a vast renovation project.
Members of the NCC administration as well as Culinary Arts program professors and students gathered in the lobby of the school’s Alumni Center to celebrate the reopening of the redesigned restaurant with a groundbreaking ceremony and a reception featuring the delicious fruits of student labor.
“NCC has always taken the pulse of the industry,” commented Dean of Business and Technology Dr. Denise Francois-Seeney, who said “improved security measures (and) more options to take home Are part of the changes brought on by the Hampton pandemic Winds customers will notice when they return.
Culinary Arts Program Director Francine Marz said updates to the restaurant’s sky-lit dining room were designed to wow patrons whether they are returning or being guests for the first time at the restaurant.
“The idea behind the renovation was to have people – as soon as they walk in the door – be blown away,” she said.
The Hampton Winds kitchen was also remodeled with a grant, ensuring that NCC culinary arts students have access to cutting-edge technology; upgrades that the school believes will improve their career paths and lead to higher paying positions.
Marz cited valuable and unique experiences outside of the Hampton Winds kitchen and dining room that have benefited NCC cooks, including the school’s annual Lehigh Valley Food & Wine Festival at Wind Creek Casino, the opportunity to study with world renowned chef Emeril Lagasse in New Orleans. and a cooking competition in China, in which a Saucon Valley resident and a culinary arts student from the NCC participated.
“There are so many culinary opportunities out there (students at CNC),” she said.
Student Nicole Bittner, who testified at the grand reopening, told attendees at the grand reopening that being able to practice on the prep line in the Hampton Winds kitchen had been an important part of a training at the NCC which prepared her for a career in the food industry.
Despite the interruption in her studies caused by COVID-19, Bittner said she was delighted to return to the kitchen recently after “a whole year of rust” and to find that her knives were “still sharp”.
Bittner, Marz and Francois-Seeney were joined by NCC President Dr Mark Erickson, who called Wednesday an “important and exciting day for Northampton” for the ribbon cutting.
After that, guests had the opportunity to tour the remodeled kitchen – in which dozens of cooking students were busy at work – and feast on past appetizers in the dining room, which is now flanked by a patio which has been furnished for outdoor dining.
Hampton Winds schedules change seasonally based on the school schedule. In summer, the restaurant is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Wednesday to Friday, and for dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Wednesday to Friday.
The new Hampton Winds Express counter is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, for the rest of the summer. For more information on hours in August and fall, see the restaurant’s online calendar.
Current menus as well as pricing information can be found on the NCC website, which includes a link to a reservation form on OpenTable. Reservations, which are required, can also be made by calling 610-861-4549 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Hampton Winds is a BYOB (beer and wine only) and appropriate dress code is casual.
Most major credit cards are accepted.
Hampton Winds is located on the NCC campus at 3835 Green Pond Road, Bethlehem.
For updates on hours, specials and more, follow the restaurant on Facebook.