Waterbury's mayor is giving local students a chance to show off their culinary skills on a grand scale and pinching pennies at the same time.
From delicate finger foods to chocolate-dipped strawberries, the spread will be as inauguration-worthy as any. The only difference is that the chefs are younger then the usual inaugural caterers.Culinary arts students from Wilby and Crosby High and Naugatuck Valley Community College are whipping up these creations.
"Students are making skewered teriyaki chicken and some mini-cheesecakes and lemon squares," said Anthony Mango, culinary arts instructor at Wilby High School.
It's a task students, including Wilby High senior Andrew Villaranda, aren't taking lightly, putting in long prep hours even after school.
"We’re sautéing mushrooms, cutting them and peeling them. We cut pasta with vodka sauce," he said.
Mayor Michael Jarjura says he cooked up this thrifty idea for his fifth inauguration in October after attending an impressive student-run breakfast.
"They were very professional and you could see they were excited to serve the mayor and dignitaries,"Jarjura said.
There’s more to the frugal function than the food. Music will be provided by a student sting quartet and the venue this year isn’t a fancy ballroom. It’s the Waterbury Arts Magnet School.
Jarjura said it's also a taxpayer money saver.
"I know a lot of people are hurting out there with the economy, so this is a good way to show frugality," he said.
Add it all up and the mayor’s usual $25,000 inauguration will only cost the city about $5,000. For these students, the experience has no price.
Jarjura’s inauguration is free and open to the public.