submitted by UCDSB
It’s a cooking tradition 15 years in the making, as South Grenville District High School staff, students and local dignitaries come together for an annual Holiday Lunch.
The meal was originally held on the Sunday before Christmas but was changed five years ago to take place during school hours so that all students could attend. This year, 600 people enjoyed a heaping plate of turkey, stuffing and all the fixings.
Hospitality teacher Chef Brandi Donovan says that all three of her hospitality classes take part in preparing the meal, along with students in the Specialty High Skills Majors (SHSM) Hospitality program.
For this year’s meal, students prepared and cooked 800 lbs of turkey, 400 lbs of potatoes, 100 lbs of vegetables, 62 lbs of dressing, 32 litres of gravy and 615 buns over 1 week.
“Students from the SHSM program come in as leads and they take on different roles. They work with different groups of kids, going through everything, organizing, and take on a management role,” Donovan explains.
For some students, this meal may be their first ever turkey dinner, or the only holiday meal they will have during the winter break.
“If they don’t get a turkey dinner at home, it’s nice to see that they are getting one here,” said Grade 12 student Reid Boone from the SHSM Hospitality program.
“It’s good to start getting used to big jobs like this, to feed large amounts of people,” said Jacob Cadieux, a grade 11 SHSM Hospitality student, who is focused on making this his career.
“It’s experience, it’s something that will help you in kitchens later, and even manage a kitchen. I’ve already worked in two restaurants and I’m trying to get into Algonquin College and take the Food Sciences course, then Hotel Management for Restaurants,” Cadieux explained. “Chef Donovan is a really good mentor; she helps you do your thing and invites you to prepare different cuisines.”
Prescott Mayor Gauri Shankar, Township of Augusta Mayor Jeff Shaver and UCDSB Trustee Lisa Swan were just a few of the local dignitaries who also attended the event.
“It’s great to see this in our local community, how interactive it is between the students and staff, and also local businessmen and local politicians,” Shankar said.
“It’s a good eye-opener for us. Some students don’t get a chance for turkey dinners, don’t get a chance to celebrate Christmas, this might be their only chance and it’s such a worthwhile event,” said Shankar.
“I’m all about our community spirit in the school and in our community,” added Donovan. “I think doing stuff like this really boosts school morale as well as our community relationship and I’m proud to be a part of it.”