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Thanksgiving 2023: Culinary Arts Students Prepare Holiday Feast for LGBTQ+ Youth and Seniors

Intergenerational Thanksgiving 2023

The Los Angeles LGBT Center hosted its hallmark holiday dinner on Tuesday with the 4th annual Intergenerational Thanksgiving Celebration, bringing together more than 250 LGBTQ+ youth and senior clients for a warm, joyous meal. 

“This is my favorite event of the year at the Center,” Center CEO Joe Hollendoner said in his welcome address to the crowd. “It’s a realization of the dream of the Anita May Rosenstein Campus, bringing young people and seniors with our staff and volunteers– being here together and allowing us to be part of your Thanksgiving celebration.”

The event featured live music, performances, and a full-course buffet prepared by students of the Center’s renowned Culinary Arts program. The 14-person team prepared a buffet dinner for nearly 300 guests, complete with herb-roasted turkey with gravy, sourdough stuffing with caramelized onions and mushrooms, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, pomegranate-glazed brussels sprouts, pumpkin pie, and more.

Photos by Josh La Cour

Two students of the training program spoke at the event: Annetta Daniel, a resident of the Center’s Ariadne Getty Senior Housing, and Li Brown, a client of the Youth Services department. The two shared a little about the meal that was served, as well as their experience in the program. 

Daniel told guests that the Thanksgiving buffet marked the end of her time in the Culinary Arts program. “I was fortunate enough to do my internship here at the Center as well,” Daniel said. The 300-hour training program is divided into two parts—200 hours of culinary training in the Center’s commercial kitchen, and a 100-hour internship placement in professional kitchens throughout Los Angeles. “My 200 hours came and they said, ‘Ms. Annetta, you gotta go.’ And I said, no. I was kicking and screaming. So they said, ‘Okay, you can stay.’”

“Every day, I got up with purpose,” Daniel said of the program. “I knew I was part of something larger than myself.”

Every day, I got up with purpose. I knew I was part of something larger than myself.

Annetta Daniel, Culinary Arts student

Brown, who is about two-thirds of the way through the program, also spoke to the fact that the intergenerational environment offers more than kitchen skills. 

“I’ve been learning so many things in the kitchen,” Brown said. “I’m so blessed to have had this opportunity. Everyone is super kind and very patient. I would say it genuinely feels like I’m working with family. I love these people so much.”

Intergenerational Thanksgiving 2023
Photos by Josh La Cour

Beyond Thanksgiving, the Center’s kitchen also prepares up to 500 fresh and nutritious meals a day for the Center’s youth and senior members, many who struggle with homelessness and food insecurity. Annually, the program enrolls 80 students from the Center’s Senior and Youth Services departments.

In addition to the buffet dinner, guests were also treated to performances by beloved LA drag performers Charles Galin and Amber Crane.

This year’s Intergenerational Thanksgiving was presented by Comcast NBCUniversal & Telemundo with coverage by local news affiliates KNBC 4 and Telemundo 52. Supporting Sponsors included Waymo and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

Intergenerational Thanksgiving 2023
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