Chefs in Catering club prepare fresh meals

Students cater, serve to first responders, bus drivers

Maddie Gee, Reporter

Claire Kelly ‘22 felt elated when she saw her food being enjoyed by first responders at an Oct. 18 luncheon that recognized local police and fire departments, she said.

“It felt like I helped people [and] it was great to see people so happy, sitting down and talking,” Kelly said.

The first responder luncheon was held for the first time, because COVID-19 restricted the club’s ability to host meals for the elderly, which had been a tradition in the past. Local firefighters and police officers enjoyed turkey, homemade gravy, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green beans and assorted homemade pies for the themed Thanksgiving meal. The meal began at roughly 11:30 p.m. and ended at 12:15 p.m., with roughly 25 people in attendance. 

Meal preparation for each catering event begins weeks before, with planning a balanced menu, and figuring out what can be made and then frozen, Chefs and Culinary Arts teacher Brianna Basic said. In class, Basic demonstrates how to make a dish, followed by a class discussion, and then students recreate the dish. On the day before and on event day, dishes that cannot be frozen are made. Students also set the tables, arrange the seating, and serve the food. 

One event the club catered was a brunch held in honor of LT school bus drivers, which continued a tradition from years prior. The breakfast included pancakes, various breakfast casseroles, muffins, sausage links, and fruit.

“Something that’s really rewarding is when you see people go up for seconds,” Basic said. “That’s what happened a lot with the bus driver buffet. There’s always a little bit of nerves, but seeing the bus drivers go up for seconds definitely was rewarding, because then you know the food was good.”

After the meal, students then start cleaning, washing dishes, moving equipment back to the chefs’ classroom from the NC dining room, washing the tablecloths, and other tasks. Catering events are graded by Basic, with factors such as having equipment ready, safety and sanitation, and the quality of the prepared food. 

“I’ve always loved baking ever since I was a kid,” Kalyna Kruger ‘22 said. “We’re getting experience serving actual people, and [learning] what more of an actual restaurant is like, compared to other culinary classes.”

At the end of the year, each student enrolled in the Chefs class and Catering club will be able to take a test to receive a food manager’s certificate, Kruger said. This certification would help students enter the culinary industry in the future, prove their knowledge on food safety and sanitation, and display previous culinary experience. 

“I had the distinct pleasure of partaking in the excellent meal prepared by LTHS North students,” Deputy Chief of Police Robert Wardlaw said. “The service provided by the students was outstanding, as they were friendly and communicative. The food in my opinion was on par with a high-end restaurant.”