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October 13, 2017 10:31 AM

Conestoga students support annual Oktoberfest breakfast

More than 30 Conestoga culinary and hospitality students prepared pancakes and sausages for visitors at the 36th annual Oktoberfest breakfast on October 7. The free event at Bingemans, hosted with media partners from 570 News, CHYM 96.7 and Country 106.7, supported the Food Bank of Waterloo Region. Donations collected during the breakfast will provide more than 14,000 meals for families in need throughout the region.

Conestoga Oktoberfest Breakfast 2017.JPG
Conestoga culinary students flipped more than 5,000 pancakes at the 36th annual Oktoberfest Breakfast on October 7 at Bingemans. The free event supports the Food Bank of Waterloo Region.

“If I could participate every year I would,” said Paulina Gonzales, a first-year international student in the Culinary Management Co-op diploma program who volunteered at the event. “We celebrate Oktoberfest in the Philippines so this reminds me of home.”

Like Gonzales, Akshay Anand and Michael Duhaney, both students in the Culinary Skills - Chef Training Co-op certificate program, started classes at Conestoga in September and are volunteering at the breakfast for the first time. “I wanted to help out and have some fun,” said Duhaney. “This is a nice way to give back to the community.”

Faculty member Chef Philippe Saraiva said students who volunteer at the breakfast often return as guests. “This really is a special community activity. There are grads that return every year and now they bring their families.”

The students were on site at the outdoor grilling tents at 4:30 a.m. to begin preparations. Bingemans' Kool Haus Oktoberfest tent opened to the public three hours later and Saraiva estimated the students made 5,500 pancakes for guests. Throughout the event’s first 35 years, students have prepared more than 700,000 pancakes and 350,000 sausages.

Conestoga’s School of Business and Hospitality provides a broad range of culinary and hospitality programs to serve the workforce needs of the growing hospitality industry. As part of their learning experience, students operate Bloom, a full-service, licensed dining room that was named one of Canada’s best neighbourhood restaurants in 2017.

An expanded Culinary & Hospitality Institute currently in development at Conestoga’s Waterloo campus is scheduled to open in 2018 to foster innovation and entrepreneurship for the region’s burgeoning tourism sector. For more information, visit Transforming Together

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