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The Yankee Express

BVT’s Ireland-themed fundraising dinner a great success

UPTON – Irish eyes were smiling at Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School’s 28th Annual Superintendent’s Gourmet Dinner held at the school on St. Patrick’s Day. There were many smiles and a lot to celebrate.
    Each year, students in the Culinary Arts program look forward to the Superintendent’s Gourmet Dinner, a culmination of months of preparation. The planning and production of the gourmet dinner give students a taste of what skills are necessary for success in the food, beverage, and hospitality industry. As well as celebrates the quality of career and technical education with a lavish reception and an elaborate gourmet dinner. This fine-dining experience is the school’s largest fundraiser.
This year, the first course of the evening was a delicate and creamy potato and leek soup made with house-made chicken stock, topped with crispy fried shallots, snipped chives, and a drizzle of herb oil. An Irish salad was the fifth course served. Influenced by seasonally available ingredients, a blend of arugula and baby spinach tossed with Gala apples, pickled red onion, goat cheese, and tarragon vinaigrette topped with beautiful slices of vibrant red and golden beet for a splash of color. After the deconstructed Irish stew, the final course was an apple cake. The tender and flavorful cake complimented by a Baileys burnt caramel sauce, apple chutney, and house-made vanilla custard ice cream was a sweet ending to a perfect meal.
The gourmet dinner was established to support technology advancement at the school and, through the years, many initiatives benefiting student learning. Since 1995, the annual dinner has raised awareness of vocational-technical education by showcasing the skills of the shops involved. Each year, during the first few weeks of the school year, Culinary Arts seniors complete a rigorous selection process that consists in nominating and voting on a theme for the dinner. Subsequently, the menu and decorations are all based on the selected theme.
The Culinary Arts program has produced dinners with a wide variety of themes, from “The New Millennium” in 2000 to “A White House State Dinner” in 2009, and across the United States from Las Vegas to Hollywood and New England to Hawaii. Around the globe, they’ve gone from China to the Roman Empire, and France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Moscow, and this year they enjoyed Ireland.
Over the years, the themed dinners have included events such as a “Kentucky-Derby” meal in 2017, which brought the “greatest two minutes in sports” to life by celebrating the food and culture surrounding the nation’s longest continuously held sporting event with a menu of authentic southern fare. In 2015, the food and culture of the 1920s was celebrated with a dazzling Gatsby-themed dinner, worthy of approval from the Great Gatsby himself.
“The gourmet dinners that our Culinary Arts program has expertly prepared, plated, and served against magnificent backdrops through collaboration with other departments and shops over the years have been remarkable,” said Superintendent-Director Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick.
While a large group of students and staff contributes to the success of each dinner, key personnel make up the Executive Board in Culinary Arts. The executive positions include a food crew with a General Manager, two Executive Chefs, two Executive Pastry Chefs, and two Garde Managers responsible for cold food. In addition to a Beverage Manager, Sous Chef, Banquet Managers, Photographer/Social Media, Emcee, and Decorations Facilitators. This team works together to achieve the same goal: a successful dinner.
Meet the 2022 Superintendents’ Executive Dinner Team:
General Manager, Samantha Stephens of Mendon
Executive Chefs, Natalie Lambert of Millville and Nolan Holt of Uxbridge
Banquet Managers, Makala McQueston of Blackstone and Sofia Yitts of Grafton
Emcees, Amanda Wallace of Sutton and Ansha Khan of Northbridge
Beverage Manager, Colin Buckley of Bellingham
Decorations Facilitators, Katelyn Barrows of Northbridge and Erin Morrissey of Douglas
Executive Pastry Chefs, Emily Warner of Uxbridge and Alex Mach of Uxbridge
Garde Mangers, Darlene Johnson of Northbridge, and Kymber Morin of Douglas
Photographer/Social Media, Allison French of Northbridge
Sous Chefs (juniors), Leyla Hudson of Northbridge and Makayla Dunton of Sutton
Pastry Sous Chef (junior), Naomi Tsuda of Mendon
    Check out all of the delicious details that made this annual event successful: