Eagle Eatery plans senior-citizen luncheon, serves weekly teacher meals

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Amanda Hare

Cooking in the Eagle Eatery kitchen, juniors Makenna Brandvold and Ethan Lamoreaux prepares lunches for teachers. The Eagle Eatery sells teacher lunches every Tuesday and Thursday. “I have learned more about what it’s like to work in a professional kitchen and the food service industry as a whole,” Brandvold said. “It’s been a fun experience making the lunches. I’ve enjoyed being able to be a part of it.”

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To celebrate and give back to the community, student organizations are working together to hold a senior citizen luncheon at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 2. Specifically, the Eagle Eatery members plan the whole event.

“The senior citizen’s luncheon was started before I got to Prosper,” Eagle Eatery teacher Cristina Goodman said. “I think it has been going on for 13 or 14 years, and it’s basically a thank you to the community for supporting us.”

The Eagle Eatery, an advanced practicum class for culinary students, hosts the annual luncheon. While this community tradition occurs every December, the luncheon will look different this year to follow COVID-19 guidelines and keep everyone safe. Goodman and Brett Claypoole, the other Eagle Eatery teacher, are in charge. Goodman has been working at the school since 2011, which is when she created the Eagle Eatery.

“Senior citizens, when Prosper was very small, were one of our largest tax bases,” Goodman said. “Because we didn’t have industry, we were getting our tax bases for schools from their homes. It was a way for Dr. (Drew) Watkins to say thank you to the senior citizens for living in our community and supporting us.”

The senior citizens will come to the Children’s Health Stadium and drive around the stadium, stopping by all the stations. There is no RSVP required for the citizens to complete.

The annual senior citizens’ luncheon will come to the Children’s Health Stadium this year, and guests will drive around the stadium, stopping by all the stations. There is no RSVP required for the citizens to complete. “We spoke with Dr. (Holly) Ferguson on a way that we could continue the tradition of the senior citizen luncheon but basically have it with no touch,” Eagle Eatery co-teacher Brett Claypoole said. “We’re still going to have the jazz band. We’re still going to have the choir. We’re going to have more involvement from our other CTE programs.” (Cristina Goodman)

“We spoke with Dr. (Holly) Ferguson on a way that we could continue the tradition of the senior citizen luncheon but basically have it with no touch,” Claypoole said. “We’re still going to have the jazz band. We’re still going to have the choir. We’re going to have more involvement from our other CTE programs.”

Fashion design students will make ornaments and graphic design students will design Christmas cards. The auto technology students will check tire pressure and wash windshields.

“They’ll drive around the stadium and be at different stations to listen to the jazz band and the choir,” Goodman said. “We’re still going to have the pastor give grace over lunch just as we always do.”

The Eagle Eatery will cook guests food and serve their lunch in to-go boxes. The boxes will be set in the trunk of the car to eradicate human contact.

“We always do the same menu, with a very traditional meal,” Goodman said. “Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and green beans, just a nice roll. We do apple pie, pumpkin pie. It’s very traditional.

Goodman said that the Eagle Eatery students have already planned out the cooking for the luncheon, so they are ready to cook when they need to.

“We will start cooking on Nov. 30, the Monday before the luncheon,” Goodman said. “We’ll cook Monday and Tuesday from the moment I get to school Monday to the moment we leave Tuesday. Then we’ll serve it on Wednesday.”

Everything will be prepped and cooked on Monday and Tuesday except for the mashed potatoes, which will be made on Wednesday.

“I love being able to see everybody from year to year,” Goodman said. “I’m in this little hole [the Eagle Eatery kitchen] all the time, and I very rarely get out in the building, and when I get out to the community, it’s only to admin, and I’ll be doing something for a specific group of people.”

Goodman said she loves being able to go out and see the community every year.

“I love the hugs. I love being able to see them over and over again,” she said. “I love being able to celebrate people and do things for them. Just for somebody else to feel celebrated for what they’ve done for us, I love being able to give back and be part of that.”

Junior Makenna Brandvold, an Eagle Eatery student, has helped plan the luncheon.

“We have started planning the finer details for the senior citizen luncheon such as what we each will be doing, whether it’s serving the meals in the front of the house or making them in the back,” Brandvold said. “I’m excited for the luncheon. It was such a good experience last year, and this year I’m going to be doing a different role than I did before, so I’m even more excited to see what that will be like.”

I love being able to celebrate people and do things for them. Just for somebody else to feel celebrated for what they’ve done for us, I love being able to give back and be part of that.”

— Cristina Goodman

In addition to the luncheon, the Eagle Eatery students work to serve lunches for teachers every week on Tuesday and Thursday. Teachers can order their food on the My School Bucks app or website and pick them up at the Eagle Shack or outside the gyms.

“Deliveries, we try to do as touchless as possible, so as few people touching the food as possible,” Goodman said. “Only one person touches the food, and then we set it on the cart and the teacher touches it after that.”

To deal with COVID-19, the Eagle Eatery students have undergone more training and follow more procedures than normal.

“All the students have done the COVID ‘ServSafe’ training, so they’re all ServSafe-certified,” Goodman said. “Additionally, with the COVID information, and then we are not doing in-classroom deliveries like we have in the past.”

The Eagle Eatery also uses the correct chemicals to kill the COVID-19 germs, and Ecolab has come out and checked the sinks in the Eagle Eatery kitchen to ensure the water is clean.

“The food-service industry put out some new regulations for how food will be handled with COVID,” Goodman said. “They are the strictest standards for the food, so no bare hand contact. We usually do no bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food, but now there’s no bare-hand contact at all.”

Eagle Eatery students also have a special mask and uniform for the kitchen only, to prevent outside germs from contaminating the area.

“As soon as the students come in, they change into their uniform, which Mr. Claypoole and I clean and sanitize every time, and they wear the uniform in the classroom and part of the uniform is the mask,” Goodman said. “That way, we make sure that there is no spread from the cafeteria or bathroom into the classroom.”

As for the menu of the teachers’ lunches, that is up to the Eagle Eatery students. One week, they served chicken street tacos. One week they served Cuban sandwiches, and one week they served chicken salads.

“The response has not been as big as it normally is, but I think it’s because we’ve changed the procedures,” Goodman said. “Teachers have to prepay for their lunch before they get their lunch and for some people it’s cumbersome to have to do that. But, other people really like it because then they don’t have to think about it. They just use the My School Bucks account where their credit cards are attached, and they buy their lunch.”

Goodman said teachers also prefer having their food delivered, and she hopes they can deliver next semester. Goodman also predicts the process for the lunches will be smoother as the students get more training.

“I have learned more about what it’s like to work in a professional kitchen and the food-service industry as a whole,” Brandvold said. “It’s been a fun experience making the lunches. I’ve enjoyed being able to be a part of it.”