Culinary students to prepare Thanksgiving meal, offering up tips

SCCC, Thankgiving, Culinary Arts School in Riverhead
Culinary students Stacey Green (left) and Chadrick Brittan carving up turkeys at last year’s event. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Suffolk County Community College’s Culinary Arts Institute wants to make it a bit easier for community members to enjoy their Thanksgiving — especially those who don’t foresee cooking as an option.

Forty students and chefs from the college’s Culinary Arts program are offering up their skills next week to provide meals for long-term patients and homebound seniors across the East End.

Using ingredients provided by the Dominican Sisters of Hampton Bays, they cook a full Thanksgiving meal for about 120 of the nonprofit’s patients.

In just three hours the crew will prepare a dozen 20-pound turkeys; 100 pounds of mashed potatoes; 50 pounds of sweet potatoes; 80 pounds of stuffing; 25 pounds of assorted vegetables, and five gallons of gravy to top it all off.

They will also be baking 18 apples and 18 pumpkin pies for dessert.

“They come in on their day off to prepare all this food that we have gotten donated to us,” said Marianne Bogannam, director of development for the Dominican Sisters. “They will then be delivered to housebound seniors who wouldn’t otherwise be able to cook for themselves or aren’t going anywhere for Thanksgiving. The seniors, they just love it.”

The students will get to cooking at 9 a.m. Nov. 26 at the Culinary Arts & Hospitality Center in downtown Riverhead.

Taking their knowledge one step further, the college’s culinary experts have teamed up with the Auburn University Food Systems Institute, another culinary education program, to offer an app called Holiday Celebrations. It offers up tips for creating the perfect holiday spread.

Available as a free download on smartphones and devices, the app includes articles about food safety and holiday feast planning as well as different holiday recipes, including instructional videos about how to make roasted butternut squash, cooking with pumpkin, wine pairings and how to prepare and set a holiday table, just to name a few.

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