Aspiring chefs and members of a local church partnered on Christmas Day to serve up a festive feast to hundreds of people in Kelowna.
The 15th annual Christmas Day dinner was hosted by Victory Life Fellowship at the Parkinson Recreation Centre.
“Cooking for this meal is a wonderful opportunity for the students and chefs to give back to the community,” says Okanagan College culinary manager Vincent Stufano.
“Everyone takes pride in participating, knowing that it’s going to mean a nice holiday meal for those who otherwise might not have had one,” Stufano said.
“It’s also a great learning opportunity for the students,” he said. “They learn how to cook in volume while maintaining a high standard of quality.”
Preparations for the big feast actually started last week, with 15 culinary arts students, under the director of Stufano and chef instructors Jim Armstrong and Mike Barillaro, prepping the turkeys, stuffing and gravy.
Clergy and members of Victory Life provided free gifts for children and teens, distributed hundreds of food gift bags and put on an evening of entertainment for those attending the free Christmas dinner.
More than 400 people were expected to attend. College students and instructors have cooked for the Christmas Day dinner for several years now, and they plan to keep doing so well into the future.
Meanwhile, college officials remind prospective chefs that employment opportunities in the field are excellent.
“There’s a lot of demand for cooks right now, so we’re eager to welcome the next round of students in and continue traditions like this,” Stufano said.