Centennial secondary school's culinary arts students will set a table for 200 on May 12.
What will they serve? British Columbia.
The best of B.C. vegetables, milk and meat will be on the menu for a gourmet meal called Best of BC Buffet, to be held during the school's open house. It will be a fundraiser for the Share food bank but the students also want to showcase this province's best products as well as their talents.
"We want to set a good example," says Brandon Hoffman, who is in Grade 12 and taking the Culinary Arts ACE-IT program.
The buffet will be a gourmand's delight, featuring grilled vegetables with balsamic glaze, bean salad with spiced gouda cheese, roasted potatoes and parsnips with fresh herbs, turkey piccata with olive lemon jus and risotto cakes, Cajun chicken with chipotle barbecue sauce, B.C. seafood paella, maple mustard-crusted pork loin with onion juice and desserts using local fruits and ice cream made with B.C. milk.
Teacher Adam Jonas said he got the idea for the Best of BC Buffet from his school's participation in the BC Agriculture in the Schools Program (www.aitc.ca), which encourages schools to use B.C. products as ingredients in their cafeteria offerings.
The students are proud to be able to show off their culinary skills and will be promoting a buy-local message during the dinner. "B.C. products are some of the best products you can get. It may be more expensive but it's worth it," explained John Rickart, who said buying local promotes B.C. agriculture, which is more sustainable and healthier than food trucked in from the U.S.
The students say they didn't think much about where their food came from before participating in the Agriculture in Schools program but now they're converts and they want their families to buy local, too.
"It's good for the economy, environment and sustainability," said Amy Chen, who is in Grade 11 and the Culinary Arts ACE-IT program.
Jonas, who started introducing B.C. grown and produced products into the cafeteria foods, said staff and students appreciate the fresher and healthier products. Entries such as seafood lasagna made with B.C. ingredients are popular.
"People are interested in what's the entrée today. Why don't we sell chicken fingers, any more - I haven't had that question for a year."
Tickets for the buffet are $20, with some of the proceeds going to Share Family and Community Services; call the school at 604-936-7205 or email Adam Jonas at firstname.lastname@example.org.