Relaxing in retirement? Not Chef Mike Mirabella! He retired from WEMOCO this past year and shortly thereafter had to shift gears to plan his daughter’s wedding. But there was a challenge – how does one create an event for 140 guests when no catering crew exists?
Chef Mike kept in touch with many of his former WEMOCO Culinary Arts students over the years. He reached out and found several who welcomed the opportunity to assist. Answering the call were David Bannister (Brockport, 2013), Dialyz Marcano (Brockport, 2018), Abbey Shannon (Hilton, 2019), Richard Webster (Holley, 2020), Tony Farruggio (Holley, 2020), and Paul VerWulst (Hilton, 2021).
According to Chef Mike, “It was an incredible chance to take, pulling together a staff, all of whom had never worked together. Some but not all work in the food service industry. They all came early and ready to work, and then put in 10 to 12 hours straight! My job was father of the bride, so I couldn't worry about hands-on working of the wedding. This staff took a bare party room and transformed it into an absolutely gorgeous setting. The compliments they all received from the guests were overwhelming. The wedding was flawless! I especially thank David Bannister who served as the captain of the crew.”
Also assisting were Courtney Pollet, an employee at Monroe2 Orleans BOCES, and Don Lenox, co-worker of mother of the bride MaryAnn.
“I wouldn't recommend planning a wedding on your own unless you have some knowledge of the industry. Looking into the different options, I discussed the possibility of asking former students to assist. After much thought my daughter and wife gave me the green light. I will always be indebted to these former students. I admit they all brought tears to my eyes, like watching my own kids growing up,” shared Chef Mike.
“A great benefit of being a teacher is the relationship that develops between the students and teacher. The trust that happens is most important. I cared about all of my students and wished them the best future, no matter which direction or path they followed.”
From left to right in the photo are Don Lenox, Courtney Pollet, Dialyz Marcano, Chef Mike Mirabella, David Bannister, Richard Webster, Abbey Shannon, Tony Farruggia, and Paul VerWulst.