By Ivan Watson
A dynamic team of sharply dressed hospitality students from Camosun College prepared a delicious dinner of herb encrusted pork loin with autumn squash puree, green beans and roasted potatoes for over 600 diners at Our Place Society last Monday evening.
Our Place provides vital services to our region’s most vulnerable citizens, including regular meals – over 745,000 last year alone. The annual Camosun dinner is unique, says Our Place Communications Director Grant McKenzie. “Everyone loves to be treated as special and this event brings that to people who don’t normally see that in their day to day life,” he says. “We always hear great, heartfelt thanks for this meal.”
Camosun Hospitality Management instructor Kathy MacRae helped out at the event and is a regular volunteer at Our Place. “The people at Our Place are truly wonderful people and they love it when the students come here,” she says. “It’s amazing for our students to be able to say—that person who usually sits on the side of the street, I just served him dinner tonight and we had a conversation and made a connection and I really enjoyed it.”
The student team from Camosun’s Introduction to Restaurant Operations course managed all aspects of the dinner, from cooking to table service for over 600 guests throughout the busy event. It’s the type of applied learning that Camosun excels at and it helps prepare students to launch their careers after graduation. “It is a good opportunity for serving for so many people,” says Hospitality Management student Jay Baek, who came to Victoria from South Korea last year. “We learn what we should do as servers or what we should do when someone asks something of us. We get many good experiences from this.”
Camosun’s vice-president of education John Boraas rolled up his sleeve and served delicious dessert creations of apple strudel with caramel sauce and cinnamon whip cream. “I’m here to do my part,” he says. “Serving dessert is the easy part. It’s nurturing the long-term connections between Camosun and community that is the most meaningful work.”
Camosun’s Hospitality Management diploma program offers flexible learning and in January 2018 will welcome its first ever winter semester cohort. For more information visit: camosun.ca/hospitality. To learn how you can support Our Place, please visit: ourplacesociety.com.