The Senior Citizens Association Branch 47 in Trail recently unveiled a newly renovated kitchen in the Greater Trail Community Centre.
The original kitchen, which has been in use for over 20 years, received a much-needed upgrading at the beginning of October.
“The kitchen wasn’t really designed for what we are using it for now,” said Geoff Tellier, chef instructor at Selkirk College’s Trail campus.
Since the renovations, which included a new stove and cabinets, the kitchen has been running more efficiently.
“The kitchen just feels better, cleaner and brighter, and like a new start,” said Tellier.
“In the old kitchen the ovens weren’t regulating properly and need fixing on an ongoing basis, so it’s been great with new ovens.”
The kitchen project was made possible with funding from the Columbia Basin Trust, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, and the Senior Citizen Association.
The seniors association rents the space to the college for the food services program, which operates Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.
The program is focused on transitional and life skills training in the hospitality industry.
“Every one has worth, sometimes it just takes a little longer,” explained Tellier.
“Given time to finish, my students will start it, get it, finish it, and gain self confidence and self esteem,”
There may be 12 to 16 students in the fast paced kitchen daily, depending on the cooking challenge.
The students are also taught catering menus when they host various groups, such as the Trail Association for Community Living, Canadian Institute for the Blind, and the Stroke Recovery members
The program offers a short order menu from grill cheese to hot roast beef, but the major focus is on a fresh soup and daily special.
Average daily seatings serve 30 to 40 people, although during holidays, the turkey dinners have brought in over 80 diners.
“Generally, $6 will get you a cup of coffee and a great meal,” said Tellier.
Tellier has been running the food services program for 16 years.
He is a journeyman in the trade, and cooking since 1978.
“I started cooking fish and chips in White Rock down on the strip.” he laughed.
The kitchen is open for service Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and Friday from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.