Although the Marketplace Food Court’s ovens only cooked a third of the food they normally would have for the annual Thanksgiving feast at Woodroffe campus, staff still strived to warm the hearts of the Algonquin community with a hot meal.
A customer appreciation Thanksgiving meal was served to students and faculty in D-Building on Thursday, Oct. 8 from 10:45 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Food services used 150 pounds of potatoes to whip up the mashed potatoes, 7 kilograms of cranberries to make the cranberry chutney and 45 pounds of vegetables for the assorted cooked greens.
Nineteen large 20-pound turkeys and three smoked legs of ham were prepared in order to produce enough food for the 300 people that Russell Weir, executive chef of food services estimated to serve.
“At the end of the day, that’s a third of what we would’ve normally done but very happy with those numbers given the situation,” he said.
Food services would serve 10,000 people per day in a normal school year. This is now down to 400 to 500 customers. The Thanksgiving dinner typically serves 1000 people.
The customer appreciation meal also accommodated plant-based diets. The tofu was marinated in the same spices as the turkey and vegan stuffing sat in-between two pieces like a sandwich.
Because Algonquin’s Marketplace is self-managed, they have the ability to react to customers’ suggestions and needs more easily. “Now with COVID and such a reduced number of people, we’re getting to know almost all of our customers and we can almost do requests,” Weir said with a laugh.
Oliver Gleeson, a second-year animation student who lives on campus purchased the Thanksgiving ham special. “The ham was well cooked and it was quite delicious,” he said. “That honey glaze flavour really brings a punch, you know?”
Some students took their meal to go while others socially distanced and dined either alone or with a friend in the cafeteria’s reconfigured seating area.
“Overall it’s a good meal, like seven and a half, eight out of 10 I’d say, if this were Yelp or something like that,” Gleeson said with a laugh.
The food court arranges special dinners for occasions like this weekend, Christmas, and Easter. These are the moments that bring individuals together to be grateful, to keep growing and to celebrate.
Weir explains these are some of the only times they can see some of the students and faculty because of everyone’s busy schedules. “It’s always great because it brings people from all over the campus here, they look forward to it and we get to see them sometimes.”