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Nashoba Valley Technical High School’s award-winning, in-school restaurant, The Elegant Chef, is taking its show on the road again.
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 elderly folks once a month.
Nashoba Tech regularly provides lunch to the Cameron Senior Center in Westford, as well as the senior centers in Groton, Littleton, Pepperell, Shirley and Townsend. They bring the food to the center, and the students divvy up the responsibilities, some in the kitchen preparing and cooking the meals, others waiting on the seniors and serving them.
Of course, visiting senior centers gives the students a different look at how to prepare and serve food, but it’s also a chance for two wildly 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 always gets the biggest crowd. The 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 preparation.
“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.”
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 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.