Cooking and serving Christmas dinner at Salvation Army

The cook is a craftsman. He takes fowl from the air,fish from the water, fruits, vegetables,and grains from the land, and animals that walk the earth, and through his skills and art transforms the the raw product to edible food. He serves to sustain life in man, woman, and child. He has a sacred duty through his efforts and art to sustain and maintain the healthy bodies that god has given us to house our souls. (14th Century Guild Manual/Source UNK)


Chicago chefs, Gary Wiviott(L) and Alan Lake(R) orchestrated a Christmas dinner at the Salvation Army Freedom Center.

People who cook, professionally or passionately, share one particular trait. Generosity. They love to provide, to give, to feed.

Cooks feed people. They do not cook for vanity, bragging rights, or to produce food porn. They cook so others can enjoy. People who cook share love and joy.

Cooks know and realize their skill with food is also a responsibility.

Cooks "serve to sustain life in man, woman, and child". Serve is the operative word.

This is the time of year for giving, for being generous. For a time, whether minutes or a couple of hours, we can provide happiness and sustenance to those who are disadvantaged.

There are people, who for whatever reason, are less fortunate than us. They deserve a decent meal and a measure of happiness. They may not be able to celebrate Christmas with family and friends. They may have to beg on the streets for their dinner. They are the homeless, impoverished, substance abusers, alcoholics, or mentally ill.

These people deserve a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. A Christmas dinner fit for royalty. They deserve a measure of happiness and joy.

Chefs and cooks are sensitive to those in need.

In this season of giving two chefs, Gary Wiviott of Barn and Company and Alan Lake of the soon to be opened Aviva in Greek Town, along with a group of volunteer chefs, cooks, and servers fed the disadvantaged.

The call for volunteers on social media produced chefs, prep cooks, carvers, and servers at the Salvation Army Freedom Center in West Humboldt Park.

On Friday a meal for over 180 people was prepared and served for the residents of the Salvation Army Freedom Center.

The photos below show the work and dedication of the chefs and volunteers.

The menu was fit for royalty. Dinosaur slabs of prime rib roast, a salad of greens, pomegranate seeds, and slivered almonds, cauliflower with mushrooms, leeks, scallions, and squash, mashed potatoes with more ingredients that can be listed with enough butter to defeat the best efforts of Lipator, and cranberry sauce.

Dessert was a rich brownie with ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

The tables were meticulously decorated with Christmas themed items and white roses.

Everything was done with great care and attention to detail. The residents were our guests on this day. They were treated and feted as such.

The smiles on their faces were their gift to us.

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