Culinary Arts caters True/False jubilee

Daphne Yu

A tray of pizza turnovers sits, ready to be baked for the even tonight. Photo by Daphne Yu
A tray of pizza turnovers sits, ready to be baked for the event tonight. Photo by Daphne Yu
In just weeks after the culinary students at the Columbia Area Career Center provided a full Mardi Gras meal to students and faculty at RBHS as well as community members, they are again preparing to wow crowds with their catering abilities. This time, the food is for the jubilee of the annual True/False festival that begins today, Feb. 28. The culinary classes have been catering ever since they teamed up with True/False for a special event in 2008.
“We kind of started doing some small things,” Head chef and instructor Brook Harlan said. “The premier film for [2008] was “Pressure Cooker” so they actually had a main showing on Sunday and they had 1,000 people that we fed afterwards. That was pretty crazy, they had everybody coming out of the theater where we fed them. After that, we just decided that it would be much easier to do if we fed them as they’re going into the theater. So the next year we decided to do the jubilee which is the kick-off they always have at Missouri Theater. So we typically do Thursday night which is the first big showing … [Catering] is a great exposure for the students, great for them getting to come it and seeing what it’s like to feed 2,500 [appetizers] to about 1,200 people.”
The culinary classes are providing five to six savory appetizers and four desserts tonight, senior Dahnya Rogers said. Rogers has catered for True/False with the culinary classes for the past two years. The classes have to make three to four hundred of each appetizers, which include nann flatbread, curry puffs and pizza turnovers to name a few.
“The components for a basic appetizer is there has to be a base, some type of spread, a main component and some type of spread,” Rogers said. “So we had to take that into consideration for each appetizer. Everything ends up being inside, but we still have multiple components.”
To choose the appetizers, culinary students look through class materials and past experiences with full dishes to find the essence of a perfect appetizer, then tweak it so the portions are right.
“We use a lot of resources, like the culinary… textbooks and look through them for inspiration. A lot of these that we liked we just make smaller, kind of changing things we’ve done before,” senior Heather Fitt said. Having catered with True/False for two years, she knows that the people at True/False “like interesting things but they also like traditional things but with different types of hummus and stuff.”
Students in the culinary classes work with the pizza turnover fillings and dough. Photo by Daphne Yu
Students in the culinary classes work with the pizza turnover fillings and dough. Photo by Daphne Yu
Of all the food the students are preparing, one of the appetizers was chosen by independent study students while the chefs picked out the others. Originally, students in the Culinary 2 class were supposed to compete to decide the last appetizers, Rogers said, but the snow days caused by two winter storms in the last week dashed those plans. In addition, snow days also set back preparation schedules for students, Fitt said.
“It’s obviously a lot of work [and ] unfortunately it didn’t get to be spread out among everybody because we lost a couple of days to the snow days,” Chef Harlan said. “We had about eight students come in yesterday and worked for around eight hours on quite a few things and we’re trying to finish up everything today.”
While preparing food for an international event like the True/False film festival can be stressful, students like Rogers and Fitt come back the next year and do it again. Rogers sees it as n opportunity not only to showcase skills, but also to be a take part of something so universal.
“I think it’s really cool that we get to promote the career center and what exactly we do in the culinary program and it also gives us an opportunity to experiment and come  up with our own ideas on what kind of appetizers we want to produce for the event,” Rogers said.  “True/False is such an important part of Columbia now, so it’s really nice that we’re ale to be a part of it.”
By Daphne Yu
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