Good Things Come in Small Packages
Pint sized Chef cooks up a few surprises.
Recently United Methodist Communities at Pitman (UMCP) welcomed a very special “guest executive chef” who proved that the old adage “good things come in small packages.” Nine year old Corrine Godlewski of Washington Township combined her love of volunteering and cooking into one awesome demonstration for residents, staff and guests.
“A few months back Corrine told her mom Cyndi that she wanted to volunteer at a local retirement community. Cyndi contacted me and learned that all volunteers under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a parent so she agreed to accompany Corrine to orientation and whenever she volunteers at our community,” said Sharon Yesner, Director of Volunteer Services.
“I am proud of her for how giving she is. We have always done “easy” charity such as donating canned goods or Toys for Tots but never this level of volunteering. Corrine wants to be a chef and welcomes every opportunity to learn about cooking,” said her mother Cyndi Godlewski.
Yesner added that the first big project Corrine volunteered for was the 13th Annual Classic Car Show and Picnic in June. “It was love at first sight. The residents and staff fell in love with Corrine’s enthusiastic zest of life and upbeat personality. One of her biggest fans was our Executive Chef, Rich Schleeter. He struck up a conversation with the active nine year old and found that in addition to loving sports and school – she had a real passion for cooking.
A few weeks later at the end of a busy day – Chef Rich learned he had unexpected guests who wanted to tour his kitchen. “Little did I know that my supervisor, Dining Services Director, Norm Engel, had set up the visit with Corrine and Cyndi but forgot to mention it to me,” laughed Schleeter. “When I stuck my head out of the office and saw who was touring…. I suddenly forgot how tired my feet were and we had an awesome visit.”
Corrine repaid Chef Rich’s hospitality a short time later by bringing him some of her home made guacamole dip and chips for him a few lucky co-workers to sample. Chef Rich was so impressed with the pint-sized chef that he and Norm Engel “cooked up an idea” to get her in to join him during his weekly cooking demonstration.
Without telling anyone not even Chef Rich, Norm Engel ordered Corrine her very own custom made chef’s jacket. After a few emails to work out logistics – a date was set for Corrine to come in and cook along-side Chef Rich.
“What can I say – the kid’s a natural and she didn’t even let an injured ankle slow her down. Her recipe for taco dip was a big hit and we accompanied it with some chicken quesadillas for a lunch with a South of the Border flavor. I don’t know who enjoyed watching Corrine cook more – me, her mom or the crowds gathered around the action station. I cannot thank her mom Cyndi, Sharon, as well as Norm for working behind the scenes to make her visit possible. The only questions I kept hearing was when is she coming back and what is she cooking next,” concluded Schleeter.