As we inch closer to the holidays and the end of the year, it seems natural to reflect on the past. I think of my favorite holiday meals and who was the best in our family at making certain dishes. I also think about my own first adventures in the kitchen that ended up being a mixture of success and not so great outcomes. My Grandmother was always there to encourage me during both. Last weekend, I was given a unique opportunity to go back in time. I was invited to participate in a 3 course dinner prepared by the culinary class at Nolensville High School. It was a complete meal where the students do everything from table setting to menu selection, prep, cooking and serving to clean up. What a treat!
We were greeted at the door by lovely hostesses, one of whom was the reason we were there. I have watched Emily Colebank grow up and to see her in this culinary environment made my heart soar. We were escorted to a beautifully decorated dinner area where our “Starry Knight” (in honor of the Nolensville Knights) began. We feasted on a lovely array of homemade breads and spreads before the main course was served. I selected Seared Scallops with Kale and Israeli Couscous. My husband had the Deep Fried Cornish Game Hen with an Arugula and Apple Salad and Roasted Fingerling Potatoes. It was not only a marvelous presentation, but the meal was exceptional. We all cleaned our plates! It culminated with Chocolate Opera Cake (my selection) or Blackberry Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream (my husband’s pick). We were charmed at every turn by the table setting, our waitresses, the politeness and most of all the attention to detail.
The entire evening reminded me of being in the same spot years ago but it was my freshman year of college rather than high school. I loved the marvelous opportunity to encourage, lift up and praise students who are just testing their attraction to preparing good food. It was so nice to see their enthusiasm and feel their energy! While you may not have the same chance to visit a school, it doesn’t mean you can’t provide cheerleading for young people of all ages who show an interest in helping in the kitchen. Keep that in mind as you navigate through the busy holiday season. Because everyone has an Emily Colebank in their life!