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Catering with a Higher Purpose

Catering with a Higher Purpose

There is much more to Goodwill Industries than meets the eye. Mention Goodwill and most people think of used clothing and furniture stores. What many do not realize is that many of those running the stores are in a training program to learn marketable skills for better employment and living opportunities in the near future. Such training programs include not only retail, but also automotive, janitorial and hospitality services as well.

Most recently, Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia opened the Goodwill Career and Conference Center, which houses Polly's Hospitality Institute (PHI), the training component of Goodwill's Hospitality Division. It includes Edgar's Bistro and Edgar's Catering at the Anderson Conference Center. (Edgar's was named after Goodwill's founder Reverend Edgar J. Helms.)

The Conference center has seven rooms for meetings and catering (from business lunches to weddings) and the Bistro serves lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. PHI combines instruction in the culinary arts with extensive hands-on experience in fine dining, catering and cafeteria venues.

“The students in our hospitality program work every station in the Bistro and help with all the catered events,” says Jeff Smith, executive chef. “By the time they leave the Goodwill program, they can precisely and confidently execute every aspect of the kitchen line.”

“We then help them transition to internships and jobs. But we don't let our students just go anywhere. It must be to an environment where they will continue to learn and expand their culinary knowledge, not just make pizza, for example,” he says. The state program is a first phase for what may become a national initiative. This past fall, the hospitality staff hosted a “Goodwill Gala.” This year's event has evolved into an elegant black tie affair with live music, a “dancing with the stars” theme, and a silent auction — a far cry from the simple buffet the first year!

The meal included butler-passed hors d'oeurves, ice carvings and a served dinner with gourmet elements (see menu, pg. 54). The hospitality students man every aspect of the event, from initial prep to final plate presentation and cleanup.

Goodwill Gala


Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia

Hors d'oeurves
Smoked Salmon Canapés
Beef Wellington Bites
Chicken Salad on Cucumber Circles

Ice Display
Jumbo Prawns
Oysters on the Half Shell
Clams Half Shell

Spring Mix of Greens with Poppyseed

Filet of Beef Topped with Foie Gras Sauce Perigueux, Julienne Mixed Vegetables, Mushroom New Red Potatoes

Collage of Pastries

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