October Kitchen - September 2019

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Meet the Team Behind Your Meals SEPTEMBER 2019

www.OctoberKitchen.com | 860-533-0588 | 309 Green Rd., Manchester, CT 06042


That culinary arts program was part of the Future Homemakers of America-Home Economics Related Occupations (FHA- HERO) Club. In the summer, we attended the national conference with other kids from all over the United States. FHA-HERO has a board of student leaders and Mrs. Dembeck got it into her head that I was a great candidate for state office. She encouraged me — twisted my arm, really — into running. I got the position and

When you have a really great teacher, you know it. They just click with you as a student and their influence stays with you for the rest of your life. I’ve had many great teachers, but there was one who made me who I am today: Mrs. Lucy Dembeck. I met Mrs. Dembeck back when I was a sophomore in high school. She taught at a magnet culinary arts school in Wethersfield. The school was only open to juniors

spent my junior year doing a lot of traveling and speaking in front of hundreds of kids.

and seniors, but my home economics teacher, Mrs. Ferrington, saw my passion for cooking and recommended I enroll. At that point, I already knew I wanted to be a chef, so I rearranged my whole schedule and started the program during the second half of my sophomore year. For the first year and a half, I was in the morning program with the juniors, learning all the basics of culinary arts. As a senior, I graduated to the afternoon program where students ran a restaurant out of an elementary school cafeteria. It was glorious. We learned everything about running a restaurant under the watchful eye of Mrs. Dembeck. She was by far the best teacher I’ve ever had. Mrs. Dembeck was a tough, no-nonsense woman. She was incredibly hard on us, but that’s how you knew she really cared. This was a teacher who honestly wanted her students to realize their potential and succeed, even if it meant she had to push them to do it. She certainly played a huge role in helping me realize my potential as a teenager.

The following year, Mrs. Dembeck decided it was time for me to run for a national office. I had to do a certain amount of campaigning and give a speech in front of thousands of people at the national convention in California. The thought terrified me. It was too much pressure and I felt like I was in over my head. A few days before the conference, I found myself standing in my living room, calling Mrs. Dembeck with tears in my eyes to tell her that I couldn’t do it. I was going to quit. “You can totally do this,” Mrs. Dembeck reassured me. “I wouldn’t have encouraged you to do this if I didn’t think you were capable. And I’m going to be with you through the whole process. Trust me. You have all the support you need.” Mrs. Dembeck’s encouragement was enough to make me risk taking the plunge and going forward with it. I went on to be elected as a

“When I say Mrs. Dembeck made me who I am today, I’m not exaggerating.”

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WHERELIFELEADSYOU This month, October Kitchen celebrates teachers. On the cover, Paul shared stories about his favorite teacher, Mrs. Lucy Dembeck. While Mrs. Dembeck no longer teaches culinary arts in Connecticut, she’s still helping students find their passion. We were lucky to interview one of the greatest teachers in the world. family. Around this time, Lucy decided to retire. She spent only one year in retirement before she happily went back to the classroom. Lucy Dembeck on a Teacher’s Responsibility

“I tried to retire after 36 years of teaching, but I quickly realized I missed the kids. I didn’t want to hang out with a bunch of old people who spend all day complaining about how horrible kids are. That’s not who I am. I wanted to spend time with the wonderful kids out there who are doing wonderful things.” Lucy now works as a substitute teacher for a lovely small school system in southern Indiana. Lucy often subs for extended periods of time; right now, she’s covering for a teacher who is on maternity leave until November. In between her jobs, Lucy and her husband do a lot of traveling. They’ve been everywhere both in and out of the country, including places like Budapest and Ecuador. “Why shouldn’t I keep teaching?” Lucy asked. “I love it. It lets my husband and I keep traveling and education is a wonderful thing. A lot of people like Paul wouldn’t be doing what they love today if they didn’t have a teacher who helped open that door for them. It’s part of a teacher’s responsibility to connect the dots and help passionate students find what they love.” In 1811, a large agricultural fair was mixed into the event and in 1817, beer pubs and performers were added. Perhaps one of the most famous events during Oktoberfest is the costume parade, where men and women alike dress in old- fashioned garb and march through the streets in honor of Ludwig and Therese’s marriage. The rest you could say is history, or geschichte ! Oktoberfest in … Canada? While Oktoberfest in Munich traditionally starts on Sept. 22, the Canadians celebrate during the week of Oct. 6–14. The twin cities Kitchener-Waterloo host the largest Oktoberfest outside of Munich, boasting more than 700,000 people in attendance each year. The event has a musical concert dubbed “Rocktober” and a dog parade known as “Dogtober.” Even though the Ontario area is becoming more and more popular, you can still enjoy Oktoberfest on a budget. You can find hotels in the area and surrounding cities for well under $100 per night. Not everyone can make their way to Munich or even Canada to celebrate the fantastical event, but most areas will have something going on. If you love German culture, do a little bit of digging and you’re sure to find an Oktoberfest event near you!

“I didn’t want to be a teacher at first,” says Lucy Dembeck in a shocking revelation. “I went to college for fashion design. But I lived in a rural community in Indiana. As a child of the ‘60s, moving to New York City wasn’t in the cards. Fortunately, while I was in college, I started working at summer camps to help pay my tuition. Working with youth really changed me and I decided education was where I wanted to be. I did student teaching on a whim and 40 years later, I’m still teaching. You never know where life will lead you.” In addition to working at summer camps, Lucy also worked in the restaurant industry for many years. It was this background plus her experience as a teacher that eventually brought her to the culinary arts program in Wethersfield. Her friend and former classmate, Dan Speneas, helped start the program after seeing the need for more vocational education programs in Connecticut. After many years in Connecticut, teaching many students like our own Chef Paul Finney, Lucy and her husband eventually put down roots in Indiana to be closer to the rest of Lucy’s Roots of Oktoberfest Oktoberfest Outside Munich With Oktoberfest right around the corner, you may start hearing some of these fun sayings: “I don’t give a Schnitzel,” “Keep calm and Prost on,” or “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy beer.” But what exactly is Oktoberfest and why do so many people celebrate it? Here are some fun facts about it. Royal Beginnings Oktoberfest is deeply rooted in Munich culture. It all started with the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen on Oct. 12, 1810, and the citizens of Munich were invited to attend the celebration just outside the gates of the city. The celebration’s main attraction was horse racing, which was also a staple event for the next year but has since been removed from the current celebrations.

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Amazing Stories About 2 Amazing Teachers Best Teachers in the World

When her class scheduled a three-day camping trip, Maggie, who has cerebral palsy, thought she wouldn’t be able to go. Her walker couldn’t navigate the rough wilderness. But then her teacher, Helma Wardenaar, stepped in to save the day. The educator from The Academy for Global Citizenship in Chicago used her own money to buy a $300 harness to carry Maggie on the trip. Ms. Wardenaar carried Maggie on the 45-minute hike to the campsite and two hours every day so Maggie could explore the forest with the rest of the class.

Teachers have an incredible ability to change a child’s life for the better. Here are a few stories about educators who truly deserve that “Best Teacher in the World” mug. In Lieu of Flowers Tammy Waddell was a teacher to the end. In 2018, Ms. Waddell, an elementary school teacher in Georgia, passed away after battling cancer. Instead of flowers, Ms. Waddell requested her friends, family members and colleagues donate school supplies for students in need. Her loved ones honored her wishes.

“It was kind of heavy, but I’m strong and didn’t want to give up,” Ms. Wardenaar

At Ms. Waddell’s funeral, dozens of backpacks filled with school supplies lined the aisle of the church. Over 100 teachers served as honorary pallbearers, carrying the backpacks out of the church and back to their schools for students who needed them. The Best Field Trip Ever Field trips are a cherished part of childhood, but children with

told People magazine. “Whenever I had moments when I was tired or huffing and puffing, she would sing songs or say positive words to me.” Thanks to Ms. Wardenaar’s dedication, Maggie was able to enjoy the whole trip with her classmates.

Don’t forget to thank the teachers in your life for the difference they make every day.

special needs often miss out on the fun. This was almost the case for Maggie Vasquez, a 10-year-old girl from Chicago.

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national officer and was one of only two HERO representatives on the executive committee. That was one of the best experiences of my life. Being a young person with such a huge leadership responsibility helped me grow in ways I would have never experienced otherwise. That wasn’t the end of Mrs. Dembeck’s influence. She would push me to enter a nationwide competition for HERO students that resulted in me winning a full-ride scholarship to Johnson and Wales University. When I say Mrs. Dembeck made me who I am today, I’m not exaggerating. She taught me so much beyond just cooking in the kitchen. She taught me to have respect for my ingredients, respect for others and confidence in myself. Lucy Dembeck was an absolutely terrific mentor to me and I owe her many thanks. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of Lucy’s other students. Once, a young woman came in to interview for a job at October Kitchen and when I found out she was one of Mrs. Dembeck’s students, I hired her on the spot. Mrs. Dembeck knows how to train greatness.




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309 Green Rd. Manchester, CT 06042 INSIDE The Recipe for a Great Teacher page 1

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Have You Met Lucy Dembeck?

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Origins of Oktoberfest and Popular Events

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Special Teachers Who Made a Difference

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Word Search

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Why Are So Many People Deciding Not to Retire?


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, upward of 40% of people aged 55 and older are continuing to work past the normal retirement age. There are a number of reasons why people are choosing to stay employed, with one of the biggest being a lack of retirement funds, but some are also using work to keep their minds and skills sharp. In fact, most of the jobs that the 55-plus crowd goes after keep them engaged with the community and help them lead more active lives. ● Real estate appraisers/assessors ● Property/real estate/community association managers ● Technical writers ● Tax preparers ● Construction/building inspectors ● Crossing guards ● Clergy These seven jobs are projected to grow between 8–14% over the next six years according to BLS data. They often pay well and don’t always require a full-time commitment. Many even The BLS categorized the jobs many older workers are currently pursuing:

offer flexible schedules, which can help older workers spend more time with peers or loved ones. This balance is exactly what many older workers are looking for, especially those who are “part-time retired.” More importantly, however, most older workers find these jobs fulfilling. They allow older folks to interact with the community and stay active, both of which, research suggests, are essential to healthy living as people age. For many, working past retirement, or not leaving the workforce entirely, can be a win-win-win: It’s a win for your bank account, a win for your health and a win for the community.

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