Love is a Full Plate

Alyssa MacKinnon

The Hospitality and Tourism Management department raised more than $4,000 with their third annual benefit for End Hunger Connecticut. The event was held on Friday, Feb. 5, and was hosted by the Hospitality and Tourism Management department with co-sponsorships from partners such as Sodexo, ShopRite, florists and

Sam Feroce, Kevin Barnonowski and Reilley Mcgee (Photo by Alyssa MacKinnon)
Sam Feroce, Kevin Barnonowski and Reilley Mcgee (Photo by Alyssa MacKinnon)

The End Hunger Connecticut organization goal is to “improve the levels of food security and nutrition among Connecticut families.” The organization as a whole focuses on advocacy, outreach to the community, education, and research.

This year’s theme was “A Taste of Carnaval.” Tickets included cocktail hour, a book by the Chef George Mendes, and a four course meal with wine pairings and an auction.

Last year, the HTM department raised $10,000 from various events through the semester, including the “Love Is” dinner for EndHunger CT.

This year’s event at the University of New Haven featured George Mendes, a Michelin Star Chef and owner of ALDEA, a Mediterranean restaurant in New York.

According to the biography on Mendes’ personal page, he “has fond memories of the meals his family would prepare while he was growing up in Danbury, Conn. From a young age, he knew he wanted a creative career, and food was his first love. Mendes graduated in 1992 from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. In 2003, Basque chef Martin Berasategui introduced Mendes to the culinary avant-garde movement by teaching him to add personal flair to traditional recipes, while remaining true to the ingredients’ flavors. This cultural immersion made a significant impact on his career. Mendes has two fundamental principles for his cooking today, sourcing the best ingredients and simple preparation.”

The cocktail hour featured a selection of dishes directly from his book, My Portugal: Recipes and Stories, and an accompanying book signing was held in the Bartels Student Center from 5:30 7 p.m.

The roasted pig was one of the crowd favorites, with succulent honey notes and well-seasoned, tender meat. Other dishes being served included the braised oxtail, sardines with peppers, garlic shrimp, chocolate cookies called “chocolate salami,” smoked country ham, and caldo verde with chorizo soup.

Annamaria Primiani, a graduate student and founding sister of Alpha Sigma Alpha, supported the cause and spoke highly of ALDEA in New York as a modern place with fantastic food cooked to order by the size of your party.

Musicians played for the entire event and the silent auctions for the night were all gathered via donation by the students of the hospitality department capstone class.

Sam Feroce, Reilley Mcgee and Kevin Barnonowski coordinated and led the donation team, working around the clock to make the event successful.  This year the group solicited twice as many donations for the dinner silent auction.

“It is such an easy cause, this year’s donations are amazing and the experience of putting everything together is eye opening,” Feroce said.

The four-course dinner was hosted by senior Ryan Lynch, who served as the auctioneer. After all of the excitement of the dinner and auction, the book signing was held in the Alumni lounge until 10 p.m.
Auction items included four Knicks tickets, which sold for $1,000, and an eight-person dinner in your home cooked by a personal chef, which sold for $2,500.

Renee Allen, sommelier for the evening, presented a wine pairing and explanation for each course. Beginning with a white wine grape blend, transitioning to a flavorful red, to a more tannic red that complemented the various meats of the main course, and finally ending on a dessert wine for the final course of the French King’s cake.