By Brian Zamora
The culinary arts program’s annual Thanksgiving feast for students and staff was held on Thursday, November 17. The festivity aims to unite people through food every year in Chef Arturo Luna’s classroom. The culinary arts students celebrated their feast in G-6, while the advanced class prepared food for a faculty luncheon held in the teacher’s lounge.
Chef Luna began celebrating this annual Thanksgiving feast a decade ago while working as an after-school teacher at John H. Francis Polytechnic High School. While serving food for a class one Thanksgiving, a student approached him and asked him if he could take some of the food home.
“There was lots of food left during the time, so I let him take some home. When I saw him the next day, he came up to me and thanked me. I said, ‘You’re welcome,’ but he went on to tell me, ‘You don’t understand, Chef. That was the only meal that my family had eaten for all of Thanksgiving yesterday,’” Chef Luna said.
From that moment on, Luna vowed to always provide a Thanksgiving meal to students who were not fortunate enough to have their own at home. The culinary arts students have wholeheartedly joined him in this goal and enjoyed themselves in the process.
On the day before Thanksgiving, the advanced cooking class scrambled to prepare the food before the luncheon commenced.
With each student assigned a specific responsibility, everything was meticulously planned and prepared. The feast included brined turkey, fresh salad, mashed potatoes, pie, and bread.
“There was a large amount of preparation going into the event, especially for the food. In the end, the [advanced cooking class] was very happy with their efforts and we had a positive atmosphere throughout the luncheon,” senior Sabrina Forte, who served as one of the leaders for the event, said.
The event was especially memorable for senior Patrick Cuaresma, who was given the task of carving the turkey.
¨Carving the turkey was something I had never done before, and there were lots of new faces that I had never seen before. It feels good to be in a position where they receive something without having to give back,” Cuaresma said.