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A ‘Pleasant’ Thanksgiving — Culinary Students Give Back

November 27th, 2008 · 1 Comment

FCI students set up buffet

 

 

FCI students set up buffet

17th Annual Thanksgiving Share-A-Supper a Success at Pleasant City Multicultural Center

    WEST PALM BEACH — Donning a paper toque, white jacket, and neckerchief is the way students get into the mode of a professional in the culinary world. “Wearing the uniform is very much a part of getting the students disciplined to work in a professional kitchen,” says Steve Sitnick, associate dean of culinary at the Florida Culinary Institute. “There’s a respect that comes with the uniform.”

Chef Sitnick with students

Chef Sitnick with students

    The students were all decked out as pros for their day of work Tuesday, when they participated in the 22nd annual Pleasant City Thanksgiving dinner held at the area’s recreation center gym. Sitnick and culinary dean, David Pantone, have been participating in the dinner for more than a decade.

   West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel participates as well — her office gets the donations for the meal, including the 100 turkeys from Winn-Dixie, breads and other foods from Publix, and the “strip-tease pies” — apple and pumpkin pies, from Rachel’s Men’s Club.

    

Mayor Frankel kidding with kids

Mayor Frankel kidding with kids

Frankel dropped by the culinary school Monday, to watch kids from the Pleasant City Rec Center decorate pumpkin-raisin cupcakes with the pastry and baking class, run by chef Manfred Schmidtke. “I love the sprinkles — they’re my favorite part. Oooh, wait! Is that chocolate?!” She admits her weakness is chocolate. “But I’m on Weight Watcher’s — how many points do you think this is?” 

 

Kids help decorate cake

Kids from the center got to decorate four cupcakes each — with one from each going on the special cake that would serve as a centerpiece on the dessert table the following day.

Thanksgiving cake

Thanksgiving cake

Tyrani Troutman

Dominique Giles samples icing

Wis Borden and Roberto Ortiz admire their work

         The Pleasant City Share-A-Supper Thanksgiving dinner has been run for 17 years by Gloria Williams, who has spent 47 years with Pleasant City, working as a young girl for pocket change and now part of the city’s staff. She’s campus director of the multi-cultural recreation center, and over the many programs it sponsors, including after-school care, outreach programs and food and clothing banks. Each year, she coordinates the dinner, and sees that leftovers go to other charities as well.

Gloria Williams

Gloria Williams

   Williams says there are many blessings, and much to be thankful for this season, despite a shaky economy. “It used to be them and those, now it’s us and we,” she said. “I do expect an increase in those coming for a meal this year.”
     More than 1000 from around the area come each year for turkey and all its trimmings. All that’s required is that they need or want to eat. “It’s beautiful to me,” she said. “People from the community look forward to it every year.”
  
 Workers from the city also get in on the act, with commissioners Bill Moss, Isaac Robinson and Molly Douglas serving on the line, along with firefighters and other city workers.  The gym was decorated and set up to seat around 200; every seat was full during the dinner.
Florida Culinary students were the real workers, cooking the foods, handling the set-up, serving and clean-up, and though they were instructed to smile for the three-hour stint, it wasn’t necessary — most were first-timers to the event and were enthused to be a part of the dinner.
“It’s great. The kids get to give instead of just ‘take, take, take’ all the time. It’s rewarding for everyone who participates — you can’t not be caught up in the spirit.”

Tags: Today in the World of Food

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 chefsit // Dec 1, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Jan,

    It is so nice to see that you now have total freedom to write as you want, when you want, and about what you want. Keep up the great work!!!

    S

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