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SKYCTC students prepare food for state official's retirement reception

By CHARLES A. MASON The Daily News cmason@bgdailynews.com

Call it a buffet on wheels. Big truck wheels.

There will be shrimp, boiled potatoes, sausage, crab cakes, chilled cucumber salad and other delicacies Wednesday at the Versailles retirement reception for President Michael McCall of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

The food was prepared Monday and today by culinary students at Southcentral Community and Technology College in Bowling Green at the main campus. The food-laden trucks roll today to Versailles.

College president speaking to culinary students Culinary Students loading a truck

Students of the SKYCTC culinary arts program busied themselves Monday preparing the main courses and finger foods, cutting, chopping, slicing, baking and most of all planning.

For Tiffany Yates, 33, of Bowling Green, preparing the big spread for McCall is a great learning experience. She said the students are putting together a low country boil, a Southern coastal dinner comprised of items usually found at dinner along the seashore. Yates said the crab cakes will be covered by a remoulade, which is a horseradish-tinged sauce. Yates said she plans to graduate next semester.

The buffet will be for 300 people, with 125 appetizers prepared separately.

We have to make sure everything is prepared there before we get there, Yates said. You don t want to leave anything behind.

Yates worked on local buffet events at Living Hope Baptist Church and at the Historic Railpark in Bowling Green, but nothing out of town like the Wednesday fete.

Everybody is pumped, she said.

The food preparation can be tricky. For example, the cucumber salad will be placed in more than a dozen Mason jars and chilled all the way to presentation at the Versailles reception.

Patricia Crain, 32, also of Bowling Green, plans on opening a small catering operation once she graduates, and her 8-year-old son, Jamaine, a second-grader at Briarwood Elementary School, has caught the fondness for food preparation in the last couple of months.

He wants to be a chef, Crain said of Jamaine.

Crain worked Monday preparing little chocolate pastries with strawberry, peach and apricot fillings. You have to watch for sogginess, she explained.

Crain loves decorating cakes and even put a lollipop cake together. The food part of it is fun, but I love the cake decorating, she said.

Ricky Byrd, 47, of Franklin, and John Sackett, 52, of Bowling Green, agreed that organizing the dinner step by step is the key to pulling it off.

You have got to cook the vegetables so that the colors pop, Byrd said. The key is having hot food, everything in its place at its time.

Sackett, who cooks for Gasper River Catholic Retreat in Warren County run by the Diocese of Owensboro, said he loves cooking for people.

I had a scuba shop then I washed dishes in a local restaurant. I pulled into the technical college and saw a brochure for the culinary arts program, Sackett said. I was led.

Byrd, a graduate of SKYCTC s culinary arts program, cooks for the American Legion and at Wildfire BBQ in Franklin.

The Lord has blessed me, and now I give back to the community, said Byrd, who makes everything from monogrammed cakes to burgers and barbecue ribs.

Three men in culinary uniforms prepairing food

Culinary students Archie Harris of Franklin (left to right), John Sackett of Bowling Green, and Ricky Byrd of Franklin prepare a vegetable terrine at SKYCTC on Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, for KCTSC outgoing president Michael

McCall's reception on Wednesday. (Austin Anthony/Daily News)