Thursday, 7 January 2016

HOTT Opportunities in Toronto

Every year a wonderful community organization called HOTT (Housing Opportunities in Toronto Today) invites my students to prepare and serve dinner to their 80 or so clients. We are always delighted to be part of the HOTT Christmas festivities.

This year our event was held at the Ralph Thornton Centre on Queen at Degrassi. All the food was prepared at Monarch Park during the day or before, and the service was on Saturday night. Several of our MPC Chef brigade were able to come and assist with the serving effort, for which HOTT has thanked them immensely.

We prepared a traditional Christmas dinner, with salads, cider-roasted and glazed turkey (four HUGE birds!), a couple of halal chickens for those who need it, cranberry sauce made with oranges and sherry, about 80 pounds of mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, gravy and desserts.

We prepared the chickens and turkeys very simply,
with a veil cast over them soaked in cider and butter. The veil ensures an evenly-cooked skin and helps maintain the birds' moisture throughout the time in the oven. We put a loose tent over the birds
and roast them in pans on low racks inside the pans so the turkeys are not literally being stewed in their own juices.

The veg were cut up a day or two ahead and stored ready to go ... we roasted in shallow hotel pans and took them, and all the rest of the food, down to the Centre in hot boxes loaned to us by Chef Ronald Brabander, the grandfather of one of our students. Thank you Chef Brabander!

Here ... see these lovely birds?
Juicy, tender as all get out and ready to be served.

Turkeys this size come with gizzards and offal in the chest cavity, so Willem took time to prepare the organ meats and do some very bony butchery in order to sear the meat to make delicious gravy.
Who can argue with a young chef with such a sense of humour? Kinesha took part in the
butchery and Austin looked after the veg prep.

Then it was time to stuff everything (joke!) into two vehicles ... Ms Jenn Martone had come along to help (and take all these wonderful pictures ... thanks Jenn!) and she drove the flat things down to the centre in her van. Chef took the items which were not flat. We unloaded and got ready to serve. We got into our 'civies'
and jumped into the TTC for a ride.

After the tables were set up, Julia was our official ambassador
welcoming everyone into the hall and event. Bryan and Chef's wife Gail (a simply wonderful cook in her own right)
did most of the serving and hand-carving, and we managed, again, to 'make Christmas' for many good people, not the least ourselves.

Thank to HOTT and their wonderful leaders, Lisa Pope and Bernadette LaPorte ... it is always a delight working for and with you!

Merry Christmas everyone!

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