Community Champions: Starfish Catering

Community Champions: Starfish Catering

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - From chicken to vegetables to dessert, the kitchen at Union Mission turns out a little bit of everything.

"One day it could be burgers,’’ says Glenn Hayes. “The next day, it’s quail.’’

Every day, there is a recipe for fresh starts for the men utilizing Union Mission’s emergency services program. Union Mission’s Starfish catering service prepares breakfast and lunch for a growing clientele of local businesses and other non-profit organizations, and helps prepare the people making those meals for jobs in restaurants and hotels across Savannah.

''We are able to train our culinary students with skills in catering and food preparation,’’ says Union Mission Executive Director, Patricia Youngquist. “And we give them hands-on experience that they can put on their resume when they go out in the community.’’

Everybody who works for Starfish Catering has participated in the culinary training program Chef Gloria Clements has operated for a decade-and-a-half. Hayes, her sous chef, returned to Union Mission after the training program led him to stops at several high-end restaurants.

"It’s all good quality, everything that comes through,’’ Hayes said. “It’s all scratch cooking, fresh produce. It’s just like any other restaurant in town, any other quality restaurant.’’

Including rising demand. In just its second year, Starfish has already doubled the number of catering orders it filled in its first year.

“On an average per week, we have about four or five caterings; sometimes twice a day,” Clements said.

“I think in the last two weeks we’ve had catering go out every day, and this is through word of mouth, so we know we are providing good food because we’re getting a lot of referrals," Youngquist said.

The WTOC Community Champions at Starfish Catering are also getting a lot of people back out into the workforce.

"There is a lot of great stuff going on now,’’ Hayes said, “and a lot more to come.’’

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