By Kirk Starratt
Students will showcase their talent and gain valuable experience while helping to raise money for local charities this week at the Nova Scotia Community College.
The Kingstec Campus will host the annual Fire and Ice gala on Feb. 7 from 7-9:30 p.m. Students in the Culinary Arts and Tourism Management programs are working hard to prepare for the evening, while students in the Electrical program are making sure the gala lighting is just right.
Culinary students will cook pork bellies outside on logs for the meal. There will be live music, a professional ice sculptor, Hutchinson maple syrup on the snow, a s’mores bar with bacon chocolate from Meadowbrook Meat Market and much more. This is the first event in the 2013 Nova Scotia Winter Icewine Festival.
Second-year Culinary Arts student Matthew Daigle said it’s exciting preparing for Fire and Ice. Last year, he had to maneuver through a crowd of several hundred people carrying a tray loaded with desserts - not necessarily an easy feat.
“This year it’s not as much guess work for me,” Daigle said. “I’m more directing traffic flow while I’m trying to work, instead of just straight work.”
Daigle said you have to be fast preparing food for hundreds of guests. It’s challenging coming up with such an expansive menu for such a large gathering, but having chefs like Peter Dewar and Don Mailman as instructors makes a big difference.
There are controls in place, Daigle said, but the experience gives students insight into how difficult it is in the culinary industry preparing food for such a large group.
First-year Tourism Management student Carlee Keddy said the preparations are great hands-on experience. The Tourism Management and Culinary Arts students work very closely and collaboratively together. It’s also a lot of fun, she added.
“We’ve been doing a lot of decorating,” Keddy said. “Today, we spent about two hours making paper snowflakes.”
She said it’s amazing how much work goes into making the 2.5-hour event a success. It definitely gives students some insight into what it’s like to work in the tourism and hospitality industries. All their classes are cancelled the week leading into the gala because of the huge effort involved.
Keddy said they’ve done other events, including a fundraiser for Camp Brigadoon, so the students had an idea going in what was involved, but this is the “big one.” The experience is great for resume building, she added.
“It definitely allows us to be able to see how events come together,” she said.
Nicole Robinson, a faculty member with the Tourism Management course, said she thinks there are multiple advantages for students when it comes to the experience of hosting an event of this magnitude. There are 400 tickets available, and they’re going fast.
“They get to put the theory they’ve been learning into practice,” Robinson said.
The students work with the Rotary Club to hold the charitable fundraiser. Students take part in their first year and build on that experience in their second.
Participating wineries include Jost, Gaspereau, Domaine de Grande Pre, Luckett, Benjamin Bridge, Muir Murray, Bear River, Blomidon Estate and Avondale Sky. Participating breweries include Garrison, Propeller Brewing Company and Sea Level Brewing. Just Us! Coffee will also be on hand.
Tickets cost $50 each and are available from any New Minas Sunrise Rotary member, at Royal LePage in New Minas, or by calling the Nova Scotia Community College at 690-2183.