Giv­ing thanks for cook­ery stu­dents

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By ES­THER LAUAKI

Whi­tireia cook­ery stu­dents ex­pe­ri­enced one of the great Amer­i­can pas­times last week when they served Welling­ton’s home­less com­mu­nity a huge Thanks­giv­ing feast.

The an­nual cel­e­bra­tion, hosted by the United States Em­bassy and Down­town Com­mu­nity Min­istry, was held at Wes­ley Methodist Church where al­most 200 din­ers were treated to a tra­di­tional meal.

Chef tu­tor Sonya Martin says it was an op­por­tu­nity for the grad­u­at­ing class to help out and show their skills to mem­bers of the New Zealand Chefs As­so­ci­a­tion, who su­per­vised the kitchen.

‘‘ The team did them­selves proud. When it came to get­ting in­volved [in the event] ev­ery one was very keen to help. They said, ‘It’s a good karma thing isn’t it’. ‘‘It was time well spent.’’ Thanks­giv­ing Day is cel­e­brated in the US on Novem­ber 25 and traces its ori­gins from a 1621 har­vest feast, hosted by the Ply­mouth set­tlers, to ex­press their grat­i­tude for a suc­cess­ful grow­ing sea­son.

Down­town Com­mu­nity Min­istry di­rec­tor Stephanie McIn­tyre says the mes­sage means a lot to the home­less.

‘‘ These are peo­ple who are re­ally poor and who strug­gle to pay for ba­sic things.

‘‘They don’t have much so they can’t just go out for a meal.

‘‘This is a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence where peo­ple are ac­tu­ally be­ing treated like any­one else. Be­ing able to put other peo­ple first is just a re­ally cool thing to do.’’

Roast turkey, veg­eta­bles, ku­mara, stuff­ing, cran­berry sauce and pecan pie was on the fes­tive menu which con­jured mem­o­ries of home for many of the Em­bassy’s staff.

Em­bassy staff mem­ber and Louisiana na­tive John Robert­son, who has been in­volved with the event since its in­cep­tion four years ago, is the only one from his fam­ily who would not be home for the hol­i­day, but said he would cel­e­brate with friends.

‘‘In the States, for the younger gen­er­a­tion, Thanks­giv­ing is about food, fam­ily and foot­ball.

‘‘ My friends here say I’m a re­ally great cook. It’d prob­a­bly be what my mum would call bland food, but they just love it.’’

Mr Robert­son says some of his favourite tra­di­tional dishes in­clude candied yams, green bean casse­role and ‘‘ the big roast beef my mum makes’’.

Lunch ser­vice: Whi­tireia cook­ery stu­dents dished up a Thanks­giv­ing Day feast for Welling­ton’s home­less.

Thanks for lunch: Welling­ton’s home­less com­mu­nity gath­ered for a Thanks­giv­ing Day feast cour­tesy of the United States Em­bassy.

Big bird: US Am­bas­sador David Hueb­ner and Down­town Com­mu­nity Min­istry di­rec­tor Stephanie McIn­tyre carved up a turkey for Thanks­giv­ing lunch in Welling­ton last week.

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