Dinner and a show

Culinary arts students whip upa meal for VGCC theatergoers
Apr. 30, 2014 @ 08:16 PM

A group of Vance-Granville Community College students spent Wednesday preparing bangers and mash, cod stew and bread pudding to ship to the main campus before tomorrow.

For the second time, the theater and culinary arts departments collaborated to offer dinner theater to students and members of the community. The show will take place at the main campus civic center. Dinner starts at 6 p.m., and the show begins at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s just a wonderful gathering of the community,” said Chef Ross Ragonese, head of the culinary arts department. “They get to see what we are about, and we get to spread our wings and show our skills. It’s just a wonderful experience.”

Ragonese said the students decided to go with a classic English dinner to accompany the theme of the theater department’s selected piece, “An Inspector Calls.”

The play, by J.B. Priestley, features a cast of seven Vance-Granville students telling the story of a police investigation into a young girl’s suicide. It’s set in England in the spring of 1912.

The meal draws its inspiration from the play’s setting.

It was planned and prepared by 35 culinary arts students. Ragonese supervised as eight of the students spread the mashed potatoes, grilled the onions and seasoned the stew.

Student Matt Hosier was in charge of the stew and a brown sauce for the bangers and mash, which is a traditional British meal made of sausage and mashed potatoes. While stirring his concoction, he said the program has taught him a lot that he applies to his cooking.

“It brings you a confidence,” he said.

Intern Diondra Harris, a senior at Early College High School, was around to help out as well.

“There is a lot of stuff they have taught me,” she said. “I am learning the ins and outs of the kitchen.”

The menu includes a variety of options for appetizers, entrees and desserts.

After dinner is served, seven students will take the stage under the direction of humanities and fine arts department chair Betsy Henderson.

This theater event is sure to appeal to all ages and has a powerful and engaging message to deliver, Henderson said in a release.

Tickets are $25 and available for order on the community college’s website at www.vgcc.edu/dinnertheater.


Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.