UMES preps for big gala
Written by Liz Holland of The Daily Times staff
PRINCESS ANNE -- (Mar. 3, 2011) - Students in the Hotel and Restaurant Management program at UMES are used to planning and preparing food for various campus events, but this Saturday they will be put to the test with dinner for 470, including five celebrity guests.
"It's very, very involved," said Hillary Sherman of Salisbury, a junior working behind the scenes on the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Gala.
On Wednesday, Sherman and other students were busy preparing some of the food named for characters, movies or television shows once made famous by actors Sharon Stone, LeVar Burton, Tyne Daly, David Alan Grier and Pam Grier, who will be at the event.
Alyese Justis, a sophomore from Oak Hall, Va. was helping make Saturday night's dessert -- Foxy Brown Tiramisu -- named for a character portrayed by Pam Grier in a 1974 movie of the same name.
"It's quite an experience to make it," Justis said. "It's going to be really good."
Gala guests also will be served an extensive menu of hors d'oeuvres, appetizer, entree, dessert and wine that includes Mary Beth Lacey Creamy Prosciutto Tarragon Chicken Salad, Basic Instinct Coconut Curry Seafood Imperial, Kunta Kinte Hoppin' John and Living Color Bourbon Glazed Carrots.
Students have had practice runs with some of the dishes by serving them to guests at the university's popular gourmet lunch and dinner series.
While students like Sherman and Justis are busy in the kitchen, seniors in the program have a tougher role.
Kelli Gordon from Washington is serving as the production manager -- a job that oversees the entire kitchen.
"I have to make sure everything comes together," she said.
Stephanie Begin of New Jersey, who is serving as general manager, has an even bigger job of coordinating the food service side of the event with the other departments on campus involved with the Gala.
In all, there will be about 200 students working before and during the event, which is expected to raise about $280,000 for the university's scholarship fund, said Veronique Diriker, director of development at UMES.
"They do play a big part," she said.
Interaction between students and the people who support scholarships is an important part of the Gala, Diriker said.
The food prepared by Hotel and Restaurant Management will share the
spotlight with musical and theatrical performances by students.
Other students will be on hand to greet guests, wait on tables and work at the auctions held during the event, she said.
This year's Gala, with the theme "Hollywood on the Shore," kicks off Friday night with a special reception in Ocean City where VIP ticket-holders will be able to meet with some of the celebrities.
The celebrity guests also will receive honorary degrees during a private ceremony just prior to the start of the Gala on Saturday.
This article is reproduced with permission from The (Salisbury, MD) Daily Times newspaper.