Thanksgiving made easy with Culinary students


Photo taken by Alyssa Freyman

Culinary students at work. Inside South Forsyth’s culinary kitchen, culinary students prepare the sweet potato casserole. The students have been working on making the dishes since Friday. “I think it’s a great opportunity to help out the community and help out the people who we are serving,” stated Bythewood. “And it’s really fun.”

By Alyssa Freyman, South Forsyth High School

People wake up in the early hours of Nov. 22, preparing for the tolling day ahead of them. They work tirelessly, making sure the perfect Thanksgiving feast is prepared for their family. The turkey, beloved side dishes, and desserts all take hours to prepare, wasting the cherished time the cooks could have spent with their family. At the end of the day, families gather and eat the feast, exhausted from the day’s work. South Forsyth Culinary students wonder how the work could be taken out of the feast. 

Chef Martin, South’s Culinary teacher, wants to help relieve some of the pressures of Thanksgiving cooking.

“We have done this in the past, but there have been about 5 years that we took a break in between,” said Chef Martin. “I’m noticing that people are not having enough time to cook for themselves, so I thought this was great; we could help other people and hopefully allow them something that they will be proud of with the product that they have and also put a little bit of money back into the program.”

Teachers had until Friday, Nov. 9 to order food. The prices ranged depending on the type of dish they purchased.

“The side dishes are $13 to $16, depending on if it has more cheese in it, like our mac and cheese,” Chef Martin mentioned. “There are three cheeses in that versus our corn casserole that has two cheeses. We also have regular cheesecake, turtle cheesecake, and butterscotch pecan pie, so all of those are anywhere from $15 to $25.”

The Culinary staff has a put a lot of work into making sure everyone gets their orders. Some of the dishes require lots of preparation and steps, making the Culinary students see what a real catering company or culinary job is like.

“The sweet potato casserole has been the hardest to make,” revealed senior Charlotte Bythewood. “It’s a lot of pieces. You’ve got to mix the syrup in with the potatoes to make sure the consistency is correct.”

Much thought has been put into this Thanksgiving meal service, making sure that the food received by customers is safe.

“They [the customers] will get it [their food] frozen and will have the directions on what to do and how to properly thaw it so that we don’t cause any food-borne illnesses,” Chef Martin remarked. “If they have any allergens or people that are coming to their party [that have allergens], then we’ve got that taken care of as well.”

On each container of food is the custom SOFO Culinary label, describing how to prepare the food and a list of common food allergens it contains. The most popular dish to Culinary students has been the mac and cheese, while Chef Martin has received the most orders for the corn casserole, followed closely by the squash casserole.

The food isn’t just for the teachers, though. The Culinary program wants to recognize the hard work of the custodial staff by giving them some of the delicious foods they have prepared on Wednesday. They will get some time during the day on Wednesday, Nov 14 to have a meal and feel the appreciation of the school for their hard work.

Overall, the Thanksgiving meal service has been successful among the Culinary staff as well as the rest of the school. “I think it’s a great opportunity to help out the community and help out the people who we are serving,” stated Bythewood. “And it’s really fun.”

Teachers can now wake up on Thanksgiving day, a little less of the weight of Thanksgiving preparation off their shoulders. With less to do, they now have more time to spend with their family and thinking about their blessings.

This story was originally published on The Bird Feed on November 16, 2018.