For more than a decade, Mike Orr has used a special tradition as a way of giving back to some of the employees in the Facilities Management Division’s grounds maintenance and landscape departments. Orr, landscape manager in the grounds department, takes about 70 co-workers to the Cook’s Holiday meal each winter, and this year won’t be any different.
“It’s something my wife, Patti, and I thought was a nice idea,” Orr said. “These guys work extremely hard all year long, and I don’t know if they get as much appreciation as I think they should. So it’s basically our gift them.”
Orr originally hosted barbeques and other events for the workers during the holidays, but then he “jumped at the chance” to take others to the Cook’s Holiday once it started. Ever since then, the workers—and Orr—look forward to the annual Food Services event.
“The thing I like about it is that we can all get together and it’s not a work setting,” Orr said. “We get to put work away and spend time with each other instead.”
This year’s Cook’s Holiday will be held at the Village Summit in Joe Frank Harris Commons. The theme is “Woodland Wonderland,” and the large gingerbread house instead will be a log cabin. This year a new dinner buffet will be offered Dec. 12 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The meal also will be served Dec. 11 and 12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Dec. 13 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Tickets for the Cook’s Holiday are $15.50 and can be purchased by calling 706-583-0892 or going to foodservice.uga.edu/catering/cooksholiday.html. Tickets for children ages 6-12 are $7.75; children
5 and younger get in free. The number of tickets for the dinner buffet is limited and must be purchased in advance. For the lunch buffets, ticket purchases and reservations for the 11 a.m. seating may be made online. Reservations are limited.
“We are excited to host Cook’s Holiday once again as it is a great holiday tradition,” said Susan van Gigch, associate director of retail for Food Services. “Each year, the event continues to grow and change. This year, we are excited about the dinner on Thursday night and that our typical 6-foot-tall gingerbread house will be transformed to a log cabin to fit our ‘Woodland Wonderland’ theme.”
Some of the menu highlights for the Cook’s Holiday include black oak ham, slow-roasted roast beef, cornbread dressing, glazed sweet potatoes with pecan crumble, mini pumpkin pie and cheesecake pops.
For Orr and others in the grounds department, one of the highlights is the shrimp and grits.
“They talk about that even before the meal,” Orr said. “They really do look forward to it.”