Nashoba Tech Culinary Students Learn by Catering to Seniors
Senior-year students Dylan Bourassa of Shirley left and Edward Landers of Westford right were part of a team of Nashoba Tech culinary students serving guests at Groton’s senior center. Photo by Bob Lotz
by John Ellenberger
Groton sophomore Jack Harrington is one of a handful of Nashoba Tech culinary arts students serving buffet lunches to Senior Centers in their host towns. Students and staff in the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management programs are regulars at several local senior centers within the school’s district, providing lunch and bringing smiles to the faces of local folks once a month.
Nashoba Tech regularly provides lunch to the Cameron Senior Center in nearby Westford, as well as the senior centers in Groton, Littleton, Pepperell, Shirley and Townsend. They bring the prepared food to the center with the students divvying up the responsibilities; some in the kitchen preparing and cooking meals in the Tech kitchens, whiles others serve the meals on site.
Visiting the senior centers gives students a different perspective on how to prepare and serve food, but it’s also a chance for two different generations that don’t always see eye-to-eye to interact and get to know each other.
Chef-Instructor Jeremy Bussiere of the Hospitality Management program said, “A woman at the Cameron Senior Center told me it (student prepared and served lunches) always gets the biggest crowd--seniors love seeing the students learning and in action. It’s great to see the students and
the seniors enjoying each other’s company.”
Bussiere said catering for senior centers and other events, including the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce’s annual Taste of Nashoba competition (at which Nashoba Tech regularly wins awards), and the Day on the Hill each spring at the State House, provides the students a different outlook on food service. “It gives them practice on larger catering events and event planning,” he said. “If they were going to work for a hotel, for instance, this kind of thing teaches them event coordinating, planning, sales — things they might not learn in the restaurant setting.”
Any senior center or other group interested in having Nashoba Tech staff and students cater an event can call The Elegant Chef at 978-692-9958. The Elegant Chef restaurant is also open to the public for lunch, Tuesday through Friday, when school is in session, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The restaurant entrance is in the right rear of the Nashoba Tech building in Westford.