MILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — This Thanksgiving, students had the chance to give back to their community — and get a taste of a potential career in culinary arts.

Platt Technical High School hosted a Thanksgiving lunch on Monday. During the event, people from the homeless community came out to eat a warm, fresh-cooked meal. The goal? To give culinary students some real-life cooking experience while becoming more aware of their community.

Students preparing food in the kitchen | Photo courtesy Chef Mingay

While the school used to hold the event in previous years, this was the first return post-COVID at the brand-new building in Milford.

Chef and instructor Daniel Mingay petitioned the staff for both monetary and non-perishable donations alongside French chef and instructor Cedric Grech. Chef Grech purchased the food, and Chef Mingay oversaw the entire production.

From there, 48 students in the program took charge by both preparing and serving a full buffet for 130 people in need. Meals included all the Thanksgiving necessities: turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and snowflake dinner rolls, as well as both pumpkin spice and apple crumb pies.

The culinary crew prepares pancakes | Photo courtesy Chef Mingay

“This sets up the kids to be aware of the community and proud of their school,” Chef Mingay said.

Chef Mingay, who has been teaching since 1996, works alongside Chef Grech, a teacher since 2010.

“The goal was to showcase the department, school, and have our students serve a large-quantity, all-encompassing buffet,” Chef Mingay said, noting that the experience allowed the kids to be humbled by the less fortunate. “The staff was so giving and supportive of this renewed community tradition.”

In addition to the in-person meals, Chef Mingay personally delivered 90 to-go meals to the local outreach centers, including the Beth-El Center, the Milford Senior Center, and Bridges Healthcare. He hopes that this will help reestablish the school’s connection with the Milford community.

Events like this help students prepare for a future in the culinary arts world. Platt Tech has articulations with both Johnson and Wales in Providence, Rhode Island, and the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.

Learn more about Platt Tech’s culinary arts program here.