Culinary Arts students serve guests at the annual Veterans Day Luncheon on Nov. 8

On Thursday, November 8, students at both Columbia-Greene Educational Center in Hudson and Rensselaer Educational Center in Troy honored local veterans with a set of free luncheons. More than 400 local veterans and guests enjoyed a delicious, full-course meal prepared by students in our Culinary Arts and Introduction to Food Services programs, under the direction of Chef Peter Desmond, Chef John McCarthy, Chef Ed DiMartino and Ms. Eleanor Eckholm at CGEC, Chef Andrew Ottati, Chef Chris Snye and Ms. Mary Nescot at REC.

Meals included carving station turkey and ham, potatoes, roasted vegetables, rolls, soup and a variety of other dishes. Not to be forgotten, students also produced hundreds of desserts – apple and pumpkin pie, fruit salad, brownies, cheesecakes, chocolate mousse and an array of cookies.

CGEC School Counselor Caitlin Preisner highlighted the schoolwide participation in this event.

“Students and faculty created decorations, helped set up tables and served guests, while SkillsUSA students greeted and guided guests throughout the building, EMT students provided blood pressure screenings, CNA students created displays about healthy lifestyles and Criminal Justice provided parking assistance and greeted guests.”

A variety of door prizes were raffled off at CGEC.

At CGEC, some lucky guests received door prizes including cookie trays donated by Intro to Foods students, salon gift certificates donated by Mrs. Quinn, a mosaic table and concrete stamped tiles from Building Trades and gift certificates for services from Automotive Technologies, Cosmetology and Automotive Services.

Guests at REC’s lunch were treated to a visit by Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, who mingled with guests and chatted with many attendees. McLaughlin was not only impressed with the quality of the event – but with the quality of the meal and service provided by the students.

“It’s a great event. Just seeing the people and the veterans come in every year and the smiles we put on their faces. It’s a great event for our students to learn the art of service,” said Ottati, REC Culinary Arts Instructor.

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