Business Digest

BUSINESS DIGEST

December 02, 2005

Let's Dish to open store in Columbia

The four owners of Let's Dish in the Mid-Atlantic region have announced plans to open a Columbia store. The company, which bills its services as a "make-and-take social experience," provides kitchen facilities and the makings of high-end meals for commuters, working parents and other exhausted suburbanites burdened by the dinner dilemma.

Customers choose a menu, sign up for a two-hour session and prepay online at www.letsdish.com. At the store, customers rotate from station to station, following directions for assembling meals that can be frozen until ready to be cooked. The recipes can be adjusted to suit individual tastes. Let's Dish staff members take care of the shopping, chopping and clean up.

"It's sort of a big kitchen; you're coming into our kitchen," said co-owner Alexa Corcoran.

Sample menus include chili-lime pork chops with Spanish rice, sirloin tips in Merlot, enchiladas, chicken in cranberry chutney and "decadent molten-chocolate" cake, a signature dessert. Holiday dinners, side dishes, hors d'oeuvres, brunch and desserts will also be available.

A session can yield eight or 12 entrees, each designed to serve four to six people. Music, beverages and snacks are available; the stores emphasize the opportunity to socialize while assembling the soon-to-be-frozen dinners.

An average serving costs about $3; a session that yields eight meals costs $155. Stores are open six days a week, with morning, afternoon, evening and Saturday sessions. Preassembled meals are available for an additional fee.

The Columbia store, which will be the Let's Dish flagship outlet (410-309-3415), is set to open next week at Snowden Center on Oakland Mills Road, and sessions are booked. The store will be at least 400 square feet bigger than Let's Dish in Timonium, Bel Air and Ashburn, Va., because 10 percent to 15 percent of customers at the Timonium location were found to have traveled there from Howard County, Corcoran said.

Owners Rick and Alexa Corcoran and Erik Ginsberg and his wife, Lisa Hardiman, plan to open additional Lets Dish stores in Gaithersburg, Annandale, Va., and Leesburg, Va.

The Timonium store, the owners' first, opened in January.

Session on hospitality, culinary programs set

Howard Community College's Hospitality and Culinary Management programs will offer a free information session at 11 a.m. Dec. 10 at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore hotel.

The session will provide an overview of the college's new hospitality and culinary management degree and certificate programs, as well as an opportunity to meet faculty, students and industry professionals.

Information or to reserve a space: 410-772-4469 or 410-772-4785, or www.howardcc. edu/business/hospitality.htm.

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