Chefs at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute were busy late last month, preparing a holiday feast for more than 600 people.
The meal – including 27 trays of turkey, 12 trays of ham, 14 pans of mashed potatoes, 28 pans of mixed veggies and 20 pans of apple cobbler, not to mention stuffing, cranberry sauce and other trimmings – was for the 12th annual Spirit of Christmas dinner held Dec. 25 at Stella’s dining lounge in St. Catharines. Coordinated by The Standard and the St. Catharines-Thorold Chamber of Commerce, the event typically draws less fortunate residents from community shelters, the Out of the Cold Program those receiving social assistance, as well as people who are retired and newcomers to Canada.
Bruce Worden, part-time instructor and a sous-chef at Benchmark, said was proud to be involved in the worthwhile event and that all of the CFWI chefs as well as many apprentices were happy to lend their hands to the preparations.
“We have a pretty good life here and we want to make sure we give back,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to reach out to this number of people at Christmas who are less fortunate.”
While the CFWI chefs prepared the meal in advance, others such as president Dan Patterson – who is currently on sabbatical – his wife Saundra, and family, have volunteered their time to serve dinner to guests on Christmas Day for the past two years.