Friday, 19 October 2012

Annual gourmet event to benefit Carver culinary arts program

Good food. Good prices. Good cause.

That?s what you can find at the 2012 ClubCorp Charity Classic at the Capital City Club at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Carver High School culinary arts students, one of the three beneficiaries of the fundraiser?s proceeds, will lend a hand at the event to the 15 participating area vendors.

Dubbed ?An Epicurean Adventure in Gourmet Dining,? the event will feature samples from beer and wine vendors as well as restaurants such as Garrett?s and Railyard Brewery Co. that will showcase unique cuisines. There also will be games and a silent auction.

Carver?s culinary arts students will share the proceeds with the Muscular Dystrophy Association Augie?s Quest and ClubCorp?s employee assistance program.

Although this is the event?s sixth year, it is the second year of the Carver partnership.

The high school?s culinary arts classes are a part of the Hospitality and Tourism Career Academy, which is a technical track that prepares students upon graduation to work full-time in the field, or part-time while continuing their education.

Capital City Club private events director Ashley Brandle said she first became interested in supporting the program when the students catered a professional luncheon she attended nearly two years ago.

?It was surprising to see that these were young people who were working hard, and they were proud,? she recalled of the luncheon. ?I thought it was great for them to see that being in culinary industry is more than flipping burgers. So I decided then that I wanted to do as much as I could to help.?

Although students train in a fully-equipped commercial kitchen and have on-site dining and instructional rooms in the school, the program operates with limited funds for supplies, culinary arts teacher Diane Wilkerson said.

But she won?t let that hinder her students from successfully sharing the skills they have acquired ? etiquette, food preparation and presentation ? with the community.

Last year, they catered an event for 600 people for the city?s Department of Safety. More recently, they won first place at a marketing expo at Auburn Montgomery and claimed best decorated booth at the Taste of the River Region.

Thursday?s event will offer professional development while raising money for the program, which matches Brandle?s goal of exposing students to the result of their hard work.

?This provides the opportunity to show them the light at the end of the tunnel,? Brandle said.

Last year, the event raised $10,500. This year?s goal is $15,000, Brandle said.

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