Prior to this year’s extremely successful fourth annual Festival of Nations, members of the Geneva and HWS communities gathered for a Cook Off to prepare the many delicacies that the more than 3,000 visitors to the event would be able to sample. Older volunteers were paired with small groups of children and assigned recipes to prepare. All told, the nearly 50 volunteers cooked 17 different dishes from around the world.
For Chryssy Abdool ’13, who attended with the student group Miss Mondays, the highlight was getting a chance to work with the Geneva children. “I was so happy to have them helping,” she says. “They asked questions and always wanted to do everything I was doing.”
Preparing such diverse recipes at times presented a challenge, but the volunteers were up to the task. Foods ranged from fried plantains to pumpkin cookies and Spanish rice.
“We did our best and made the best of it,” says participant Kelly-Ann Smith ’13, noting she found herself making empanadas for the first time. Other foods on the menu included exotic fruit salad, hummus, and spaghetti and meatballs.
Volunteers at the cook-off included students and staff of the Geneva School District, as well as members of the HWS and greater Geneva communities. Participants described the event as a great way to have fun while lending a hand.
“Getting to know new kids and working together is an unforgettable experience. It is a good feeling when you are engaging and learning yourself,” says Abdool.
With many of the participants planning to return in future years, it looks as though the cook-off – like the Festival of Nations itself – is well on its way to becoming a favorite event.