The holiday season is a time to celebrate traditions, and at Carihi, the annual Turkey Dinner and Show held on December 14 is something that brings all Tyees together.
“It’s almost as if the stress of the holidays [and] the stress of school just kind of goes away,” says leadership advisor Kerri Perras. “Everybody gets to be a little kid again and just [have] the weight of the world off their shoulders.”
The heart of the preparation comes from Carihi’s cafeteria and baking classes and both sports and student leadership.
Chef Jessica Mann’s cafeteria and baking classes create the meal and the desserts for the annual dinner.
“[The turkey dinner] is something we gear up for and the students [get] excited about,” Mann says.
Chef Mann’s 42 students cook 30 turkeys and hundreds of pounds of potatoes, carrots, onions and celery as well as 40 loaves of bread to feed more than 650 people.
A healthy helping of turkey with fixings of mashed potatoes, stuffing, peas and carrots with cranberry sauce and gravy go on the plate.
For anyone who does not eat meat, there is the option of a roasted root vegetable medley plate.
Next, dessert consists of three different and delectable cookies and both pumpkin and apple pie.
“There is so many people that participate [to put] it on,” says Mann. “It’s a great opportunity for people to sit down and share a meal together.”
Current cafeteria student Shelagh Dinney is calm through the stressful preparation of the turkey dinner.
“Personally, [I want] to be a chef, so I am very interested in [the turkey dinner] …it is a very good experience for everyone involved,” she says.
On the other side of things, Carihi leadership has worked hard to find students to perform, set up the gym, create decorations, serve food and clean up after the event.
Although the dinner and show only lasts for a couple of hours, the leadership team feels that the weeks of preparation are worth it.
The atmosphere at the dinner is very festive and people are seen laughing, smiling and conversing.
Positive feedback also pays off the hard work and reaffirms the pride in everyone involved.
“People are always impressed and just amazed at how well [the dinner] went,” says Mann.
After the 650 students and staff are fed the leftovers are donated to the Salvation Army Lighthouse Centre which serves lunch every day to the homeless.