Students at St. Matthew's Catholic Secondary School in Cornwall offer culinary series

It’s a three-part series that has tasty food on the plates, and big-time culinary talent on display. St. Matthew Catholic Secondary School in Cornwall is in the middle of a Culinary Luncheon Series presented by the hospitality and tourism class for the first time, and on Thursday it was serving up “A Taste of Mexico.”

Twenty guests were served at the fundraiser, the main course options including beef tacos, chicken burrito and turkey mole. “The students have planned it from start to finish,” said Kelly McDermid, hospitality and tourism teacher at St. Matthew.

The Culinary Luncheon Series is a fundraising event for the hospitality program, with the guests – including community partners, school staff and board members – paying a very reasonable price of £15 for a stellar lunch, held in conjunction with the school’s St. Lawrence College dual-credit program. Chef Margaret McCormick from St.

Lawrence College was overseeing much of the food preparation, but make no mistake, this is a student-led project. Fourteen students in grades 11 and 12 in the program were involved in picking the menu, pricing it, designing the menu and preparing “everything from scratch,” McDermid noted. “I’m very much proud of them, and we’d like to continue on (in future years) with a series of three meals.” The Taste of Mexico Luncheon was the second in the series.

Back in March, a Taste of Italy was held, and it was a big success. The class prepared a true Italian feast, serving 22 guests. The meal included bruschetta served on a crostini, a pasta trio including lasagna and freshly made noodles, spicy primavera linguine, hand-rolled cheese and spinach tortellini, and a citrus gelato with biscotti.

“Monies earned are reinvested into our hospitality program, which enables us to invest in equipment and groceries for our students to be able to regularly cook and gain the hands-on experience they need to transition into the workplace or on to post-secondary education,’ McDermid said. Overall for the series, upwards of £1,000 will likely be raised. That it would be a special meal on Thursday was evident just walking in the door at the kitchen area, where Grade 11 student Chayce Cober, of Alexandria, greeted guests and provided menus.

At the first meal, Cober was behind the scenes, washing dishes. This time he was out front, and a bit apprehensive leading up to the meal. “To be honest, I was a little bit nervous,” Cober said.

Handling his duties in a very professional manner, Cober soon realized he was doing just fine. “Putting smiles on people’s faces – it makes my day a little bit easier to manage,” he said. On May 10, the hospitality and tourism class will hold a Street Food Feast, the third event in the series.

While menu details haven’t yet been finalized, it does promise to be a fun finale, one that has the construction class involved, with students building food truck facades, the areas from which the meals will be served. The program at St. Matthew operates Freshca, which specializes in catering and family-style meals.

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