February 24, 2024

Conestoga College’s culinary arts program played a major role in what was a highly successful Oktoberfest family breakfast this past weekend. Conestoga students made thousands of pancakes for the breakfast, which raised almost $4,000 for those in need.

The coordinator of the culinary arts program at Conestoga College, Philippe Saraiva, along with 25 of his students, arrived at Bingemans at 4 a.m. to prepare for the 37th annual breakfast that started at 7:30 a.m. and went until 11 a.m.

Saraiva estimated that his crew made around 20,000 pancakes.

“There’s a lot of people in the tent and [we have] beautiful weather, that’s the way to go,” said Saraiva. “We have people coming with their grandparents that were here as kids [and] we have past grads coming back. It’s a great tradition to keep going.”

Making around 20,000 pancakes may seem like a boring task, but Saraiva’s team was able to make it entertaining. Sometimes when it was time to bring a fresh tray of pancakes into the tent, Saraiva would have one student stand with the tray; he’d then toss the pancakes directly off the griddle and the student would catch it in the tray.

Culinary arts coordinator Philippe Saraiva tosses a pancake during the 37th Oktoberfest family breakfast as his students look on. (Phil Courtemanche / Spoke Online)

“Today was fine,” said Karandeep Singh, who is also a part of the culinary arts program. “We started making [the pancakes] at 5 a.m. The staff is getting more knowledge about the cooking [and] more knowledge about [working as a team].”

The Food Bank of Waterloo Region was at the breakfast, accepting non-perishable food items.

570 News reported on Tuesday that the food bank collected 2,500 kilograms of food and $3,946.25 in cash donations, which will provide 16,143 meals.

Its CEO, Wendi Campbell, commented on the food bank’s success at the event on Twitter saying, “The line is long but the generosity is enormous!”

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