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Avery High Culinary Arts Benefit Dinner To Be Held at Grandfather Club Wednesday, June 12th

By Tim Gardner

Any classically trained chef will tell you that the best meals begin with good stock and those attending a benefit dinner given by the Avery High School Culinary Arts Club on Wednesday, June 12th, will experience some mighty fine cuisine. The dinner will start at 6:00 p.m. and last until 9:00 p.m. and is hosted by the Grandfather Golf and Country Club in Linville.

Avery High culinary arts students will prepare the meal under the aid and supervision of the Grandfather Club chef. Tickets to the benefit dinner are $100 and may be purchased online at leadershipavery.org. A ticket includes two drink tickets and a 4-course meal prepared by culinary arts students at the high school.

Tickets are going fast, according to the event’s organizers, and all interested in attending are urged to purchase tickets as soon as possible as only a limited supply are offered. VIP Tickets, costing $130 and which included two drink tickets, a 4-course meal and a pre-dinner cocktail party have already been sold out.

Proceeds from the dinner will provide several culinary scholarships to deserving students who want to continue their education in the food industry.

“We’re anticipating a large turnout for the benefit dinner, which will offer many delicacies to those attending, a great atmosphere to visit and form new friendships, but most importantly to help deserving culinary arts students,” said Helena Kitchin, Avery High Culinary Arts teacher.

Culinary arts student can earn a college degree as an executive chef, food service technician and a restaurateur as well as a food scientist, nutritionist or as a registered dietician.

Working as a team led by Kitchin, Avery High Culinary Arts students sharpen their skills by catering buffets and multiple-course meals. They prepare dishes daily in their school classes as well as benefit and community lunches and dinners as well as take-home meals also sold during fundraisers.

Culinary Arts students learn to master skills including:

* Preparing proteins, fruits and vegetables, cereals and grains and beverages

*Developing and execute menus for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and receptions

*Using and maintaining industry-standard kitchen equipment, such as ranges, ovens, slicers and mixers

*Pricing menu items based on production cost calculations and managing inventories

*Maintaining sanitary and safe food production facilities in keeping with government requirements

*Students polish their customer service skills by acting as hosts, servers, bussers and cashiers. Nutrition, food allergies and culinary sustainability are important elements of the program, too.

*Learning the necessary expertise to become a food batchmaker and a line and prep cook.

And to showcase that viable, career-worthy jobs do exist here in Avery County, Leadership Avery is collaborating with Avery High’s Culinary Arts Department. Their joint goal is to create more opportunities for students to receive superior training and then obtain culinary jobs in Avery County, thus helping our county continue to grow and thrive.

Leadership Avery members also work to help buy needed supplies for the high school’s culinary arts program.

Kitchin said Lesley Platek of Leadership Avery has been a major cog of assistance in helping raise funds for the Avery High Culinary Arts program.

A Speaker Series also has been coordinated at the school to expose students to professional culinary arts tools and the expertise of local chefs in Avery County. Additionally, the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation has reached out to the culinary program to offer student internships.

Sponsors of the benefit dinner besides Leadership Avery includes the Avery County Chamber of Commerce, the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation and Sysco, an American multi-national food service products distributor.